Manipulation Tactics: A Closer Look

Covertly aggressive people are among the most manipulative personalities.  They use certain tactics to accomplish two things simultaneously:  1) conceal their aggressive intentions, and 2) invite you to fear, be doubtful, or optimally, to concede or give in.  And there are a handful of tactics covert aggressors tend to use more frequently – tactics that are generally the most effective in manipulating others – especially neurotics.  Recognizing these manipulation tactics and knowing how to respond to them are the keys to personal empowerment.

I can’t stress enough how capable the more skilled manipulators are of using just about any behavior imaginable to accomplish their aims.  This is especially true when the manipulator has a “good read” on the character of their target of manipulation.  When a covert aggressor (CA) knows his or her “opponent” inside out (i.e. knows their sensitivities, fears, insecurities, core beliefs, level of conscientiousness, etc.), a vast opportunity opens up for using that person’s traits (often, their most socially desirable traits) against them in a covert war for dominance.  Because it’s so unrealistic to list all the possible ways a covertly aggressive individual can get the better of another person, I find it helpful to focus attention on the more common tactics CAs employ and to explain in depth why the tactics are so effective.  Understanding the basics of how manipulation works gives the potential victim of covert-aggression a better intuitive grasp of the nature of troublesome encounters with all disturbed characters and heightens their sensitivity to the many possible tactics a manipulator might employ.

Let’s talk first about the tactic of rationalization.  Actually, a better term for this tactic would be “excuse-making” or “justifying.”  The term rationalization derives from the Freudian notion that people sometimes unconsciously defend themselves against the anxiety they might experience by engaging in actions that violate their conscience.  By finding reasons that seem to make their actions more benign, appropriate, acceptable, or understandable, any qualms of conscience are assuaged.   But this scenario, of course, assumes that the person actually has a well-developed conscience.  And this type of rationalization is a strictly internal and largely unconscious process.

When disturbed characters make excuses for their behavior, they know what they’re doing.  They have a clear purpose in mind when they’re seeking to justify themselves.  They use this tactic only when they know full well they’ve done something or plan to do something most everyone would regard as wrong.  But even knowing it’s wrong, and knowing how negatively the action reflects on them, they remain determined to do it.  They might feel “entitled” to do it (as in the case of more narcissistic individuals) or they may simply pit themselves against the generally accepted rules (as in the case of the aggressive personalities.  What’s most important to recognize is that at the very moment they’re making the excuse, they’re not “defending” at all or unconsciously fending off any anxiety.  Rather, they’re actively fighting against a principle they know society wants them to adopt.  And more importantly, they’re also trying to get you to go along with it.  Covertly aggressive folks prefer this kind of tactic as opposed to open defiance because it not only helps conceal their aggressive intentions (as well as some telltale aspects of their character) but also simultaneously helps them maintain a more favorable social image (by getting someone else to see things their way or buy into the purported reasonableness of their actions).   And once they get the other person to become more accepting of their premise, they’re well on their way to winning the contests of image and interpersonal control.

Think just a little bit more about this tactic.  It’s a testament to what I’ve said all along about disturbed characters and their level of awareness (for more on this you might want to read the post:  They Know What They’re Doing).  Why are the elaborate “explanations” and justifications necessary if the person doesn’t realize how most people would judge their actions?  It’s not that they don’t know most folks would regard their behavior as wrong.  And it’s also not that they truly believe in their hearts that what they’ve done is okay.  Rather, they simply don’t want you to negatively appraise their character and possibly be done with them.  And, more importantly, they don’t want to accept and internalize the notion that such behavior should not be done again.  The very fact that at the moment they engage in the tactic they’re resisting accepting a principle and obstructing the internalization of that principle into their own social conscience is the best indication they’re likely to do the very same thing again in any similar circumstance.  Think about it.  How many times have you relented after half-heartedly accepting someone’s lame excuse only to find yourself dealing with the exact same behavior time and time again?!

Let’s look at another tactic: denial.  Now this is also a term that had its roots in classical Freudian psychology.  Freud conceived it as a primitive and unconscious defense against unbearable emotional pain.  And there actually is a type of denial that fits this classic definition.  I give an example of it in my book Character Disturbance:

A woman has been married to the same man for 40 years.  She has just rushed him to the hospital because, while they were out in the yard working, he began having trouble speaking and looked in some distress.  The doctors later tell her that he has suffered a stroke, is virtually brain-dead, and will not recover.  Yet, every day she is by his bedside, holding his hand and talking to him.  The nurses tell her that he cannot hear, but she talks to him anyway.  The doctors tell her he will not recover, but she only replies, “I know he’ll pull through, he’s such a strong man.”  This woman is in a unique psychological state – the state of denial.  She can hardly believe what has happened.  Not long ago she was in the yard with her darling, enjoying one of their favorite activities.  The day before, they were at a friend’s home for a get-together.  He seemed the picture of happiness and health.  He didn’t even seem that sick when she brought him to the hospital.  Now – in a blink of an eye – they’re telling her he’s gone.  This is far more emotional pain than she can bear just yet.  She’s not ready to accept that her partner of 40 years won’t be coming home with her.  She’s not quite ready to face a life without him.  So, her unconscious mind has provided her with an effective (albeit most likely temporary) defense against the pain.  Eventually, as she becomes better able to accept the distressing reality, her denial will break down. When it does, the pain it served to contain will gush forth and she will grieve.

This is classic denial.  And to this day it’s simply amazing to me how many people, especially mental health professionals, will simply assume that this is what’s always at work when character disturbed people deny their wrongdoings.  Character disturbed patients will resist admitting things everyone knows they have done and the therapist might say: “Give him (or her) time, they’re still in denial.”  And they make equally unwarranted assumptions, like mounds of shame and guilt must certainly underlie the denial.  Why else would they deny, especially the obvious?  They must have more shame and guilt about what they’ve done than they can bear, right?  Wrong!  Refusing to acknowledge the truth is not the same thing as neurotic denial.  It’s simply lying and very different in character from the phenomenon I described in the first example.  At first glance, someone’s denial might look like classic, neurotic denial.  But when CAs and other disturbed characters engage in denial, it’s a very different thing.  I give an example of denial the manipulation tactic at work in my book also:

Joe, the class bully, strolls up to one of his unsuspecting classmates and engages in one of his favorite mischievous pastimes – pushing the books out of her arms and spilling them on the floor.  It just so happens that the hall monitor catches the event and sternly hollers:  “Joe!” to which Joe, spreading his arms wide open and with a look of great shock, surprise, and innocence on his face retorts:  “Whaaaat?”  Does Joe really not understand the reality of what has happened?  Does he actually think he didn’t do what the hall monitor saw him do?  Is he in some kind of altered psychological state?  Is his possible altered state brought about by more emotional pain than he could possibly stand to bear?  Is he so consumed with shame and/or guilt for what he’s done that he simply can’t allow himself to believe he actually did such a horrible thing?  More than likely, none of the aforementioned possibilities is correct.  Joe is probably more concerned that he has another detention hall coming, which means another note to his parents, and possibly even a suspension.  So, he’s got one long-shot tactic to try.  He’ll do his best to make the hall monitor believe she didn’t really see what she thought she saw.  The hallway was crowded.  Maybe it was someone else.  Maybe it was just an “accident.”  If he acts surprised, innocent, and righteously indignant enough, maybe, just maybe, she’ll begin to doubt herself.  He hopes that, unlike him, she might be just neurotic enough (i.e. has an overactive conscience and excessive sense of guilt or shame) to think she might have misjudged the situation.  Maybe she’ll even berate herself for jumping to conclusions or for causing a possibly innocent person unwarranted emotional pain.  This tactic might have worked before.  Maybe it will work again.

Manipulators will often couple denial with other tactics such as feigning innocence.  This is when the person you’ve confronted acts like they have no idea what you’re talking about or pretends in a self-righteous manner that they’ve done absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or guilty for.  Sometimes they can use denial and feigning innocence with such intensity and seeming conviction that you begin questioning your perceptions and your sanity.  You start out knowing that you’ve nailed them on a behavior and somehow they get you to wondering if you haven’t gotten it all wrong.  A very effective one-two manipulation punch indeed.

By far, however, the biggest weapons in any CA’s arsenal are the tactics of shaming and guilt-tripping.  And the reason for this is quite simple:  neurotics, by definition, have a high degree of conscientiousness and hate to think they’ve said or done anything wrong or shameful.  So, the perfect way to control them is to make them think they’ve done something about which they should feel guilty or be ashamed.  Sometimes conscientious people try to lay guilt or shame on disturbed characters, thinking it will somehow prompt them to modify their behavior.  But they quickly learn that these tactics don’t work on disturbed characters.   You have to have a big sense of right and wrong and an equally big desire to be a good person for these tactics to have any effect.  In short, you have to have a pretty well-developed conscience, something disturbed characters lack.

In next week’s post we’ll discuss some of the other more popular manipulation tactics.   Then, in the following week’s post, we’ll be concluding the series on the aggressive personalities by taking a close look at predatory aggressors (i.e. psychopaths, sociopaths).  Following that there will be some posts on topics that readers have been asking for information about.  So, stay tuned!

 

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386 thoughts on “Manipulation Tactics: A Closer Look

    1. I have read a lot of self help recovering book, Regarding my husbands selfish abusive narcissistic toxic control freak personality, We have been married for 14 years and live together for three years, I was going through a lot When We met, I being sexual abused and racist mental abuse on my job, I became very sick because of the stress on my job, I have been independent sense the age of 17,I was kick out of the house.. and never return, My stepfather never called my mother out of her name or hit her, So I had no idea what domestic violence was, But to shorten a long story, The abuse became overwhelming for me my body shut down, for three day’s The job put me on Administrative leave, So I when I hired a Lawyer, Because I did not know what was going on, I did not do any thing wrong, So the Lawyer I Hired, I really did not want, But he was in the area, And I was Tired and sick…Shortly after that I whent into the Hospital for six weeks, it to the Doctors a while to find out what was wrong with me, That had to take part of my colon out, my bowels locked look on me from stress, So my Lawyer sent flowers, and started coming by my house on a regular, He always had something for me to sign, After I started feeling better he, ask me to pick him up from work because his car was in an accident, I thought that was wired for a Lawyer, He begged and begged for hours, So against my better judgment I did, When we got to his apartment, He ask me to have dinner with him, I told him no because I did not think that was a good idea, because my case was still ongoing, He did not give up, He told me to move in with him he would take care of me for the rest of my life, I told him he was crazy, Before I looked up he had moved everything out of my house, and moved me into his apartment, I was still not well and was not thinking clearly. I was on a lot of meds. So I said what the heck he seem to really care about me, But was so scary I had more money then this lawyer had, more Cars credit, He had nothing, The job told me to come back to work with no retaliations, He told me not to go back to the company because they would only find any reason just to fire me…Being my Lawyer I believed him, He forced me to settle my case, And accept much less then I wanted. I’m sure he got most of it, But With the little money I got out of my settlement, I wanted to by a house, He told me Not now we would do it later, Well guess what later never came, Two three years later we got married, it was good for a little while, Then the nightmare’s started.. He started beating me breaking my things saying horrible things to me, Calling me the “N” word, The police came and arrested him, I did not know he was an Alcoholic, and a abuser of women, I felt trapped He begged and begged for me to come back to him he promised he would never do it again, Well you know the story, He beat me real bad, So I left and file for divorce, He stalked my family so bad, he said he would kill himself, So I went back like a dummy…Now it’s 18 years later and I’m 18 years older.. Nobody is going to hire me, I suffer with depression, He does what and when he wants he is very disrespectful, he hates my family, he calls me a miserable piece of shit, and fuck off and die, And controls all the money, Been on five trips out of the country without me, and threaten to kill me if I tell anyone. I love your Book must get…very good read. Thanks Neaya

        1. Without wanting to discount your comment, or Neaya’s experience, what she need is the courage to leave this relationship, not to “withstand” it.

          Neaya is the victim, but she needs to get the support she needs to confront the behaviours, and to value her own life and feeling – to know that she doesn’t deserve to be treated badly.

          1. Again without wanting to discount the comment but the victim role is a popular manipulation tactic, my ex is very good at it. It’s probably mentioned in this series.

      1. I really am sorry that you’re going thru this but I do believe that you do need courage to leave there are battered women shelters and it may not be what you want but if you want to live your life and find some peace and Solace you need to leave this Punk he already saw that you were going through a bad situation and he didn’t care he manipulated you to feed his own narcissistic needs and desires doesn’t make you a bad person because he did this it makes him a bad person you’re better than him you’re better than how you and now that you are no longer naive about being abused jot down what to look for in a person that will manipulate you and take advantage of you it’s okay to be angry it’s okay to admit that you’re hurt and stop internalizing it that’s what’s hurting your body forgive them but don’t continue to be a victim material things I’m not worth the only life and soul that you have I hope and I pray that if you haven’t already made a move you will love yourself first take care of yourself appreciate Who You Are real love does not seek its own desires it’s not proud it’s not abusive is not boastful it seeks to show the other person how much they are loved These people have never loved you I’ve been through situations similar and when I realized that it was bothering my help and messing with me I got away from people even if it hurt and now I’m married and I can’t say that I’m living happily ever after but I’m in a better situation and I try not to allow myself to be manipulated and bamboozled yes it takes a lot to stay and it takes more to leave but you have to love yourself and if you have no children get the hell out I love you to life be blessed stay in the fight II love you

    2. sooooo… this is gonna be a long post. 6 months into a divorce where she left while I was at work. cleaned out safe, cleaned out joint bank account, cleaned out house of furniture curtains and all. left a note blaming me and drinking and hating my family. she said evil shit like I never built here a dock, never gave her a garage key and so on. all stuff that to me was BS. but it pulled my strings. I am in 60k debt from her. paid off her credit card twice, never batted an eye at first 10k then 23k. this past summer I told her to slow down on the spending…. do you think she did. no, called a lawyer and spent more to show her financial dependence on me even though I paid ALL household bills. her money was play money. blaming me for ALL her financial problems. while I was with her, she quit her 40k a year job for a part time 20k a year job. she said she married well and didn’t want to drive so far. I make 80k a year plus and she spent it all over 8 years and wants more in alimony and the divorce settlement. she is trying to play the I WAS ABUSED CARD with her lawyer. playing the victim n such. she has a PO box and wont give out her address cause I think she has her hooks in another victim. I have lost myself and have been blaming myself for the end of my marriage, but now I see that this is her stepping stone to another TAKE. she is 5foot 100lbs and I am a stacked former marine. what judge wouldn’t decide with her is what shes thinking. I forgot to post, she has a masters in psychology with a very abusive childhood so she has all the makings for a beast. she only contacts me when she wants something now.

      1. My sympathies Mike. I presume you have a lawyer and the laws (however unfair) for where you live have been explained to you. The courts decide our financial fate. Some say mediation, if possible, is a better/cheaper way to go.

        For peace of mind, and a larger perspective on one’s life, you could try listening to, or reading, Alan Watts. He has a good lecture about time, on Youtube. The past and the future are illusions we get caught up in.

        1. the laws when there are no kids involved just care about money.
          I have none but make a lot so the quicker I just pay her off the better. her lawyer is a bully and is saying if we go to a hearing that ill just have to pay her more money, and her lawyers fees, and spousal support. I have all the documentation to prove her horrible spending habits and how I paid for them but nobody cares. this life lesson is going to break me financially

          1. only 7 and a half years but I made triple what she did and have a 401k worth 282k that I just told her about this past summer.
            what a dummy

          2. Mike,
            I dont know your whole story, but have heard of horror stories and it is wrong in so many cases what individuals can legally take and be awarded. There are different laws in different states. You can google and see what yours are. Do you have a lawyer too, and what does he say?

            I am curious of your ages? I am seeing so many of these divorces where one spouse nails the other for way to much. I spoke with a friend about this last night, he did have children and he lost everything to her and her BF. It can be the other way around too. Anyway, he has stayed single for 22 years and has rarely had a girlfriend, he felt so betrayed. He told me what one needs to understand is a marriage certificate is a contract, sad but true.

            It may be helpful to post on the current topic: Keeping a Balance of Self Worth. There are several posters going through divorce.

            I hope I helped in some way and if you need supportyou are welcomed to keep posting.
            Blessings

      2. My husband was former army and navy, army he was air born and air assault battle field intelligence. It was not until 2001i found out he had also attained a third dan black belt in the army that was after 9/11 and a brain surgery in July 2001 when the Opened his scull over his right eye and Drilled a hole to the center of his head, to remove a tumor on his brain stem and relieve adult onset hydro cephalus, the tumor also was wrapped around a major artery in the bran and they had to clamp it. The day he woke up was the end of cooperation from him, three months latter me begging to normalize our sex life and the offer to start a family feel on deaf and angry ears. I was making this offer to get him to back off his seniority rights one last time after 16 years home so his the son of his fathers best friend could get a position my husband had bid on even though the young man had 15 years less seniority than my husband> I admit the 20 years since our marriage was not the best, first with his first patrol that did not really end for 3 and a half years until he discharged after trading two sets of wings for dolphins and a patrol pin with three gold stars and 2 silver. then it was a constant fight the next two years to let his return settle and not disrupt lives, That’s the reason for no sex life with him I had no other way to secure cooperation. then two years later things went real bad over a promise if he just went in and let a girl and her fiancé go on the trip to Rome. and he stay and work in their place to let them have their wedding, I knew it had been six years since a day off.

        I had promised that any time any way and any where after my return from Rome I would Be a willing wife and travel companion and he made everyone pay him back for his fees refusing to consider the over 4000 he had paid for himself that was not refundable in canceling as a wedding gift for the couple.

        I was not expecting the trap it was, My foot hit the ground on our return we were thinking to keep other plans from disruption he could take his three weeks after the Christmas down week any time till valeintins day 1988, I admit I had visions of a nice, romantic, warm island beach at that time to start our marriage. He had researched that time frame and found we would have had to make reservations a year earlier. so he was bumping everyone that had less seniority back three weeks which was about everyone to take a vacation trip west the three weeks beginning the day we came back, The argument in our van was an instant hate and resentment fair, His father was screaming just wait till we could figure something out that would work be patient and don’t hurt other plans or just wait for another year or two or even just stay home that mid winter if nothing else. I said he was holding me as a hostage to a promise It was duress to get me to do as he wanted. he said as if we had not used the same on him. He asked point blank if I was keeping my word that day , he said we had forced him the last two years with blackmail to do as we wanted, It was hell and high water when he sent me home to my mothers in Virginia fourty five minutes later. When he got his father and the rest home I found out his father had called a friend on the Bench from the Bus terminal, In the interests of the community my husband was to work all offered hours.

        it was an order that overrode the union Contract until 2000 and when I returned in 1989 he told the judge that he felt nothing but contempt for him, his kangaroo court, Because first he dismissed the divorce on the grounds I was bi polar and there was a guardianship in effect. and also refused to Remove his order of all offered hours in the best interests of the community at large. Needless to say the next. 20 years lead to some very terrifying days and evenings with my husband after the order was removed in a state judicial review at the start of 2001.

        That year he had the only six days off between 1981 and 2009 when they drilled a hole from over his right eye to the center of his had on july 31st 2001 When He woke up the next morning I knew something had changed for the worst, He Woke up angry at everyone even though he could not remember much of the last seven years, his Eyes changed from hazel to other colors with his mood. most telling when they change to steel gray, we discovered that means anger.

        Then because of the time frame his surgery fell it was impossible for others to consider letting him off work for the 60 days the doctor wanted for recovery. his father and coworkers said if he could stand he could work. The next year it got the Company fined 30000 for putting him back on the job that day. Then He started working out, not like a normal man. Three days Wind sprinting and weights three hours a day three days a week in the union gym, and his old army footlocker came open for the first time I could remember he unlocked it, Out Came Two samari swords. or catanas, two sies all in oil cloth. I also discovered that day a cerftitificat as a 3rd Dan black Belt in the sho rae style issued in 1974.

        I hated those catanas he stared wearing Dusters one always underneath the outside flap. Three months after I refused to get his father an friends arrested fr forcing him into work, it just dd not feel theright thing to do . I thought That we needed to have a family and friend meeting and get things straight about expectations from my husband , me and everyone else, just to figure out a way around my husbands growing resentments and defiance, see what he would accept as a peaceful resolution and way to get all needs met, He was no longer interested in any needs but his. When He decided to take what many felt was a prestige bid from The county commissioners son. The commissioner was his fathers best friend. Things got to the point my husband heave all three into the front yard trying to get him to back down, I offered everything he had wanted from sex, to vacations to holidays off as well as weekends and daily OT. he could take a job from the next round of bids in 2 weeks he wanted for the new plant and even the shift. He had 25 years seniority to the younger mans 8 years. I had told everyone any offer I made was gong to have to be lived up to this time because my husband was prepared to hurt someone. and I was the one that was closest and if I made this promise and it was accepted after the last sixteen years of roof raisings and being shouted to the floor I was not going to take him on one on one. for any reason, Then the day before the bids were coming down, I was on my knees begging him with this promise when he told me if I was an honorable tramp I would either cut my throat or step in front of a semi. and He walked out to what was supposed to be his last day on seconds. The Next morning he was followed onto the porch by the commissioners son the man I was called tramp over because we had been together over the milenial in Bavaria. was just so lonely for something besides my forever angry husband. and two of the younger mans friends, My husband goaded those four men into attacking him calling then gay . He Did Not pull his Catana, He just about killed all four with his bare hands in under a minute and I found myself with my ankle broken under the front door and he said try that again and he would kill me the next time.

        The next year the police had to stop him from taking two heads off at the front door on Christmas eve when They bought shotguns to escort him to work , The police said it was best he go in. because it would stop trouble and they did not need someone dead that day. By this time I was not home much when he was for fear he was going to force many issues, mostly sex. Then The orient express vacation may 2009, Another friends son that worked right next to my husband but had 2 years to my husbands 34, he Had to marry his girlfriend. The time he was schedualed for a vacation was when she was due in November. I told his father our reservations and boarding passes were in his computer case but I was not going to touch them. His son had told me he would break my arms if I touched them , so he took them and me converted mine to a single berth and his father pocketed the passport, I asked the union travel agent after giving Me the check back If there was any island times open for January February for five weeks. She had a vacation rental with jeep and bikes included in St Croix. so I put the Nearly 2000 down to reserve it, thinking My husband had worked everyday but six for 28 years he could do 7 more months standing on his head and when we cam back he could do as he wanted with his three weeks personal time. we took his case and Luggage to a TSA office to wait on him as he parked his Suburban. I had The speech I was going to give about his just going back and working to let the 2 year seniority have a honey moon before his wife got to big. that he could just wait on a surprise I was arranging for christmas at his work gate. When he got there demanding his computer case and why wasn’t his stuff at check in. I instantly started crying because his eyes were steel gray, I said I was holding the Cancelation check including the 634 dollar fee for canceling his father made up> said I was planning something for January just seven more months. Pleas try and understand There were needs greater than his need for time off this time, He demanded The 6354 dollars from me and his passport when he found that gone, I found myself flying Across the TSA office without my shoulder bag. my arm just hanging from the shoulder with terrible pain, He had dislocated it. his father was screaming just be a man and go to work he would get his stinking vacatiion just when we wanted him to have it. there was no reason to think he had rights to any thing and he could pick his passport up from TSA after we . It Took His Arriving Union Steward, chaplin and five TSA officials To keep him from strangling his father to death. TSA Put him on no fly to keep him from carrying out a threat of Catching a Direct flight out of OHARE he was going to rent a car and art every stop across the continent make our life hell on earth. We Landed at Heath Row I had not stopped crying those 8 hours. I called his job and found out he was At work but making everyone miserable. He was trying to get a disiplinaruy lay off telling hi new plant manager his maintenence repair and operations plan had the intial’s MRO, He called it mentally retarded operation. Then when we arrived home He ad told The CEO off the company that he could take his faxed letter from the Govenor and use it as toilet paper he was not turning a load f Aluminum scrap over to the dangerous truck they sent to pick 18000 pounds They did not have CDL or Teamsters cards. nobody knew any more how to keep my husbands anger down. I and his father were arrested when we finally arrived home for theft. The Judge asked me and his father to counter sign the Check as restitution. I was crying how can a wife be considered as stealing from her husband and the judge now on the bench said we stole much more that that from him, we Stole his dignity, his rights, he was the first to say his life. He was also the first to ask what we would do now he was not going to be a willing slave. He Said since restituition was fourth coming I would serve 2 month in County, His father however would serve a six months in home detension. I never want to go to Jail again.

        I kept planning that st Croix vacation hoping it would at lest earn forgiving . But By The next time I saw my husband after Labor day he was not home He was in pain at work and would not even say hello, He Just went back to work after letting me have the house keys and access to an allowance . On the Morning of the 24th of October. His mother and sister called and said be ready to be picked up. We Had To go to the Big main hospital campus on the cities east side, where they took my husband, HE was found with a temp of 102 . Unable to move or be moved without great pain in his belly and back. the report was. His heart was failing, no renal function. We singed for the treatment when we arrived without seeing him and were taken to A glass walled room out side an OR, the procession of doctors and nurses going In were all in containment suits. My husband was on his stomach sedated. Ten hours later The PA came out and told us what exactly they found. HE had a MRSA Abscess in his mid spine. The bones had slipped causing his spinal cord to be partially severed and crushed. She said There had Been one revival already but The treatment needed was very radical, She said that he would be creamated if he did not survive to kill the MRSA strain he had.

        Three more years of hard rehab learning to walk with a cane another two surgery’s one open heart. Gall bladder. apendics and Now a heart valve replacement three weeks ago. In 2013 he came home to the discovery I was in an affair again with an old Boyfriend. He had Come back with me one morning and my husband trapped us, if The other man had not been married too, what happened might not have happened, My husband intended to get me out of his life for good that morning My luggage was packed. The Guardianship ready to assume and my AP thought humiliating the cripple was a good idea When he swept my husbands cane it had to hurt hitting on his chest on the floor, My AP started laughing asking how I ended up with this pathetic looser, My husband rolled over with eyes like ice. He was still griping that 4 foot tal cane of his taking the tip off to expose the ice spike, It Fractured My APs scull. I had to call the police to stop even ore damage when they walked in my husband was still slamming his fist into him screaming woes pathetic now, two weeks later I was not expecting him home from the stress center for a week, I was going to an event that evening with his father, mother and his fathers best friend,

        When about 430 that after noon I heard the door open and close I was just Finishing getting ready to go when I went into the living room to run square into. My very angry and sarcastic husband saying good he had not been out any where in 31 years. Where were we going. I was again stuck with my back against a very hard place. This time I was not able to cry or explain my way out off it.

        I tried telling him I had promised his father I would go and me and his mother were planning a nice dinner later that week to talk through things and figure out how t incorporate him into traditions . With Friends and family present. I sais what we were going to ask for was a reset to 1985 and do it right this time< he had a one word answer at that point, NO.

        I was asking what he expected from everyone now, He had not been a functioning member of society in so long. I knew it was our fault but there were needs greater than his and in the last 12 years those needs got so many hurt, because he was not willing to be a socially agreeable person. For any need for over a decade. He then drove his knife in and twisted, saying I had denied him a family, a life, and any hope for one, He was not interested in any Reset to The day he came home 28 years before, HE listed everything he had supplied the last 31 years and demanded to know what I had returned, he said no family, sex he cooked his own meals he had supplied me ten out of country vacations and the score stood at zero time for him. I said he was told the times he should consider from 1987 on Why Couldn't he just have been happy with that. it would have saved everyone heartache. I asked why couldn't he have just let every one be happy and waited for his. If just one year he could have been just agreeable maybe he could ha had his life.

        I said I am begging himn to just pick a place to meet after the event and something could be worked out and we could figure out what could be allowed over time. HE agai lite into me sayin we allowed him nothing in his home he was from that second the final judge and arbitior of what he was allowed. None of us had a thing to say in it any more. I took for the door and instantly found my cocktail dress shredded. I was backing off from him crying and begging still was there some way we could come to some kind Ioff understanding. it had been so long for him he could hurt me, He said he would kill me if I did not submit.

        A half hour latter I hurt all over hes handing me the phone, telling meto call 911 don't clean up and don't pick up for the police and rape kit he gave Me a DVD RW and a thumb drive and said lerts see who holds their head up after court. me or him.. It was my journals of 35 years, his logs since the army in 1972. security cam shots from work that were very incriminating with my journals. at his work gate time keeping recvcords and formans notes obtained through freedom of information.

        So much has been used the last three years to get even. Hes caused so many problems Changed social structure, He hurt hundreds with work rule changes enforced.

        His father says the little boy did not get his way so he had to get even, Four weeks ago the only person we hoped had any way toinfluence him now died, His mother, His brother causing trouble told my husband the time everyone was going to be at the service and his sster tried to make a seperat private service for him while his nmother was intered at the Cemetary. They left a friend outside to turn my husband away if he showed and he ended up with the hand he put on my husbands chest telling him to come back latter My husband broke that arm in four places and slammed him off walls and concrete steps and went and sat in the oldest sons place. He Told his father one word he would go with his mother in the same hole.

        I have a two year old from three years ago. The only thing my husband is nice about now. Nobody knows what can offer to get agreement now. He Just wants to be left to his own death.

        I never meant for life to be this way, I just never knew which way or whos needs counted more.

        Now I wish most times My life had ended befpere seeing someone else hurt.

    3. i usually feel that a very self consious person and self aware person who knows what is going on in his/her mind can figure out any sort of manipulation no matter how cunning the manipulator is . if i have to paint a picture a strong muscled neutral figure in a room full of people with names lik pain, pleasure ,anger ,jelousy , disgust , … who can sort every one out .

  1. When reading this article, it occurred that the overriding behavior principle for neurotics (IMHO) is consistency, honesty, responsibility, and integrity (in their words and deeds). This makes it VERY EASY for the CA to predict what their victims thoughts and actions, and hence, to MANIPULATE them.
    Whereas, the overriding principle for covert aggressives is the very opposite, i.e., inconsistency, dishonesty, irresponsibility, and lying etc.
    This combination makes is a “piece of cake” for the CA to manipulate the victim and (nearly) impossible for the victim to understand what’s going on . . . for 3 reasons,
    1) The victim is unaware of the CA character (because the CA hides it).
    2) The victim doesn’t operate like that (and naively assumes others are like him/her).
    3) The victim WANTS to believe the CA is operating in “good faith”, and according to societies standards.
    It has just hit home, to me, that THIS is why it is so easy for the CA to manipulate his/her victim, and so difficult for the victim to extricate him/herself from the CA machinations.

    1. Well observed, and I would add a fourth:
      4) Neurotics feel guilty for thinking bad of people – so even when their instincts/gut feeling/intuition starts to warn them, in their head they argue away the realization they so badly need. Because they feel guilty thinking that of the person (especially if they are a family member, friend, etc.)

      1. Yes…this is so true. I am new to all of this material and I am so in the midst of it. I am divorcing a CA who is threatening suicide “before I pay you a penny of support.”

        A part of me feels drawn to him even though I have been mistreated for most of our nearly 8 year marriage. I am glad to find this blog.

        My eyes are about popping out of my head!!

        I need this info to help me figure out how to get out.

        Thanks, Dr. Simon!!

        1. get out, don’t look back and be thankful you survived. I was tied to a sadistic man/boy for 20 years and only wished I had been given this insight earlier. Another thing is to question what part of your personality/character was weak enough or undeveloped and allowed this to happen – then work on that before you make further choices. It’s all a learning curve. Good luck.

          1. People who are in abusive relationships stay there because they blame themselves. We blame ourselves because it is the ONLY point of power that we have – if it’s OUR fault, then we can fix it. Of course it isn’t our fault and we can’t fix it. The only thing you can do is face that and get out. It’s very easy for someone who has come from a childhood of abuse, to blame themselves because they have already had their sense of self destroyed. Very sad. People don’t stay in abusive relationships because they’re stupid.

          2. I do blame myself…..at least partially because I feel inept when it comes to expressing myself clearly and succinctly and in a non blaming yet self empowered way. it just turns into a mess of confusion and ends up in a fight. words and thoughts in a blender.
            So maybe that’s what happens when you are trying to communicate with a Ppath…fighting a loosing battle and no matter how articulate you are or how fast on you feet you are to handle it…..you will still be overcome and shot down?

          3. Reading all this made me realize. I’m not the only victom. But what gets to me. Why do we atract these kind of people. I was meried for 7 years to an abuser got out. And after met a man with personality disorder. Pasive agretion. Starting to think this is my patern why

        2. I left a man like this after 42 years of marriage, 18 months ago. We were sweethearts at the age of 15 and 16 and he was the only man I have ever known (for 45 years!) Three years prior to me leaving him for good he had me convinced for many years that I was mad and I spent years and years going to councillors ‘to get myself sorted’, but all along I didn’t think there was a thing wrong with me. One day the penny dropped and after more accusations of ‘me needing help’ I volunteered to go to my GP ‘to get certified sane’ to prove the point to him. My GP gave me a script and on it she wrote “Take a week off alone and go spend that week on a beach a long way from home’. He thought it was a joke and laughed.I didn’t tell him the day I was leaving until I was 120 klms away(previously when I had tried to leave he managed to immobilise the car, or told me lies why I couldn’t use it), and then the harassment started- multiple text messages, messages from my kids who he had convinced that I was going to commit suicide, hourly. It was so horrible and so traumatic for my kids. I stuck to my guns and stayed away. Driving up that highway was the most euphoric feeling….. to be free! Why I went back to him after 10 days God only knows, but he promised me all sorts of changes, and of course he didn’t do any of them. I really had made my mind up then that I would leave permanently, but I had a dying mother to help support and he made sure that I had no money and no car. Finally after 3 years and when my Mum had passed awaythe decision was made for me when he sexually abused me. I left. My daughters are still embroiled in his life ‘as followers’ and are estranged from me. They are using the same covert bullying tactics that he has used, and even denying me access to my grandson who I have been so close to since the day he was born. That is the bit that hurts the most. I now realise that for the past 14 or so months that I have been suffering from shock at my own decision!- almost like post traumatic stress. However, I am proud that I made that decision. I am free. I have a brilliant woman lawyer and eventually I will be completely separated from him, once the final bit of umbilical cord is cut! The crazy thing is that one a few occasions I have felt really compelled to go back, and then the reality checks in. I miss my home, my garden, my community, my cows, I miss my grandson, I miss my old friends, but I don’t miss his manipulative ways. It has been such a hard journey but I know I made the right decision. I think this type of person actually believes that he owns you and you are is his slave, but not any more!!

          1. Pigswillfly…..yes, everything about it is sad. I quite honestly can not wrap my head around why anyone would want to cause so much pain to anyone. Good for you to get away. Even when you get away from there BS it is still painful. They literally get you coming and going.
            Good luck to you!

          2. I had a similar experience. I left after 30 years of marriage to a covert manipulator. I hope you made it away from him for good. These people can pretend like they’re “helping” you, and they play dumb if you figure anything out. I have worked hard, for the past three years, to get my life on track. I am finally free! It feels amazing. It’s true, they do believe they own you. The ex believed I was stuck with him. After I left he threatened suicide twice. I had no marketable skills and he refused to pay court ordered maintenance, purposefully bankrupted the business,let the house go into foreclosure, disobeyed court orders, stole everything, and now he has disappeared and left me to deal with the fallout. These people are cowards who prey on abused people. Life can get better! Get all the therapy you can. EMDR, hypnotherapy, whatever it takes. My life is better than it ever was.

          3. It is like I have lived your life….tears. I went away for one week alone, the first time in 30 years it is the first time I felt a sense of peace. I was free. When I came back the accusations, the bullying terrorizing tactics to put me back into a state of fear and turmoil. I have now just moved him out of the house. Why do I feel guilty for him treating me badly? That is hos screwed up my brain has become.

          4. It is like I am reading my life story….in yours…I am so sorry this happened to you…I understand.

          5. i totally understand every inch of what you are feeling. my situation is almost identical to yours except i dated himin 1997 and went back 2009-2013 after he had divorced 3 times. ihad grown so much and thought i was the problem the first time around. i left out he is a cop! this time around he came back with vengience. hesigned my name from my vehicle we co owned all my money was lost.he stole a lot of coins jewelry everytime i left him.(u dont feel u want to leave but know its best)because now i have asked police for help but they covered for him and focusedmaking me the idiot.i tried to prove all this but learned he had text messages claiming to be from me(now i learned spyware was installed on my phones)no one wouldlisten. this explained how he knew my where abouts and started getting in my house taking expensive jewelry and keepsakes.i went to police again and they took myvan from me after sec of state proved he forged my name off title. i lost my job am losing my house started suffering from p.t.s.d.nowthe anxiety made me wanttogo back to him because my heart was programmed to feel he was comforting to me but i was in this mess because of him.3 months later he came back with me standing alone saying no. he came withfamily dog
            (he always abused )i turned him away. my daughter crying missing her dog.i went to police more than that happened. i am chosing to leave out.he was investigated and showed proof he wasnt at my hose. he was set free. i have been away 1 1/2 yrs. he is remarried to his cleaning lady who thinks i am crazy and she will realize what all his exes have claimed are true stories.he is crazy!master of manipulation!but i am free of the ups and downs in my life!sucks it is unfair that i still pay for what he did to my mind body and soul and he shows no remourse and thinks he is right because the police dept. covered for his destructive ways.keep moving forward the truth will come out someday and he will be left being lonely!goodluck!

    2. Amen Sarah! As a 52 year old married female, I am finally realizing that I am a victim of my mother’s covert-aggressive behavior. You’re right, the victim doesn’t “get it” because they are fundamentally different in personality than the CA. It just doesn’t occur to them that the CA would consciously behave in those ways, especially when it’s someone close to them. I am having a major revelation about my relationship with my mother and feel almost stupid that I didn’t recognize her actions a long time ago! I suppose we have the ability to shut off what we don’t want to believe is true of those that we love. Amazing, eye-opening and life-changing information!

    3. It is like he knows me better than I know myself.It is like he has studied and plotted to figure out how to best manipulate me to get what he wants. How could I have been puppet on his string for so long. I guess it is because I am a people pleaser and thought giving him all he wanted that eventually I would get what I wanted out of the relationship. The truth is that he could remain elusive while I did the circus act around him in order to gain his attention and his acknowledgements. Rather exploded in my face in the end. I still can not believe that these people actively engage themselves in making life miserable for another….How sick!

      1. Hi Briarpatch…….It is sick. twisted and sick and actually no words that I KNOW of really describe any of this. Don’t be hard on yourself,,,,,,just know that it is part of recovery, feeling bad about not “getting it”. You didn’t have the same rule book, weren’t speaking the same language, weren’t in the same movie, etc, etc, etc…..
        Welcome.

    4. AINT IT THE TRUTH!!! Yes, while my CA was abusing me verbally for 15 years, and making for the worst experience of my life, I didn’t realize what was going on. Then, I wondered if he could have NPD, looked it up, found the diagnostic criteria and realized it was all true. I realized all of his blame and accusations and put-downs were thinly veiled efforts to improve his self-image. And the house of cards fell down. He’s not that rude to me any more, my self-esteem is back to where it should be. Reading articles like this keeps me sane! Thank you, Dr. Simon!

    5. Oh my goodness. Yes! That is so spot on! Both my parents are CAs and for the three years of my marriage I have worked tirelessy to develop my integrity, consistency, honesty, and responsibility that is so clearly void in my family. I never thought these were problems until I left home for college. I am amazed how easily they can target me and my husband because we have these characteristics.

  2. i.e., The Covert Aggressive and the victim are playing by DIFFERENT RULES. The Covert Aggressive knows BOTH sets of rules, but the VICTIM only knows his/her own rules.

    1. Yup. But it’s really simpler. There are no two sets of rules. The target person plays by the rules agreed upon. The CA plays with the rules. 🙂

      Once you get over the feeling of flabbergastedness, it’s easy to spot.

      1. What I understand, now that it’s too late, is that once the target/victim is under the predators power…..there are no rules. Rules and spaths don’t belong in the same sentence. It’s like a spider catches a fly in its web ( charm), wraps it in spider silk ( love bombs her ), paralizes the prey, injects its venom which liquifys the insides of the prey…..then sucks the prey dry and discards the carcas. Everything is meant to confuse and weaken.

        1. Arrgh… that takes me back… I hope Dr Simon incorporates what you just wrote into one of his lectures. Gadz. But freedom is the best revenge. (Love the “spath” — didya invent it?)

          1. No, I can’t take credit for “Spath”. It’s a term often used on the blog sites. Love Fraud.com, 180Rule.org.
            Seems people use “IT” a lot too. Gee…..I wonder why….
            It’s worth anyone’s time to peruse those sites and read some of the horror stories, if you are not already horrified enough.

        2. IMHO there are rules. The rules are: whatever makes the CA “come out ahead” i.e., win, get his/her way, have his/her needs met, gives him/her power or money etc. is the always right!

          1. Funny in my world, he lives by one set of rules and the rest of the family needs to live by “his” rules… argh!!! no not anymore my friends. Otherwise, he can take the door and take a friggin hike!!

        3. When younger I used to read a lot about sociopaths. Who wouldn’t be frightened of such people?

          For sociopaths, right and wrong are an intellectual side-note at best.

          I understand their personal rule would be: “There are supposed to be no limits to bind me, because I’m a boundless superbeing.” That’s how I’d describe it.

        4. What can a woman do to get her husband to what his father, his fathers friends and coworkers think is the point he needs to accept to do as he is told without defiance and cooperate. I used sex denial for 31 of the 33 years of our marriage, to try and keep him in line with the needs of others instead of what he wanted in his life like vacation slots when he wanted, holidays he wanted off, weekends he wanted, keep him from making people angry when he took a job or shift with the seniority he had.
          IT was my responsibility to keep him from taking what he wanted and sex denial worked from June the first 1985 to November 6 2001. After a surgery that sank a hole from over his right eye to the center of his head to remove a tumor of his brain stem he stopped caring if he was offered sex in the future, if he would just not press his wants, That November his father and his best friend wanted my husband to remove his 23 years of seniority off a job bid and allow the son of his best friend to take this good job with 8 years seniority. It was explained by his father that his best friend was a county commissioner about ready to take the step to US congress and his father supported his run, and he needed his son to be in a position to help. So this time I told his father that any promise I made to keep him where he had been since he came home from the Navy, would have to be kept this time, he could not come to me later and say we can’t keep the promise because he will go wild If I did.
          We were to late. my husband said my promises meant nothing but words he said another time you tell me I will get the life I want if I just back off one more time, he said how many times will this make about 100 going on 200 promises including the one I made in 1981 swearing I would love honor and obey, he said I wish you would drop dead so I can find myself a wife that will stand at my side since I said till death do us part that seems to be the only way out. I reported to his father what his son wants, my head on a platter, his father came over and tried reasoning with his son about the needs of his best friend, My husband said and the next time someone had the need for what I want in my life I again will have to be the door mat, he said and besides your friend is not a good public servant, he cheats on his wife, has 2 children by girls that worked for the county so why should I think he has the public good at heart, and not just a skirt chaser, using his new office to get a new woman. His father said just shut up and do as you are told. He was thrown into the front yard with a get your nose out of my life.
          The commissioners son and three others were sent to put my husband in his place and force him into removing his name and it left four very seriously hurt men on the porch and in front of our house. my husband telling me if I ever tried getting him hurt again I would have my last date with the corenor. the next 14 years has been my husband not cooperating when he was not in rehab from October 24 2009 to February 5th 2013 to relearn to walk After MRSA set into his spine. We never thought he would walk into the house able to use a cane he made to go with his 6’4″ frame. And he has not shown remorse, pity, or understanding to any one or anything since.
          He was so not understanding the last week of February about my promise to go with his fathers best friend to a political fund raiser he said I had several thousand promises to keep to him first and raped me that evening. he then threw his fathers best friend over the porch rail at his arriving father and mother because they knew my husbands arrival home was going to be trouble.
          The trouble I think wont ever stop after the vacation I was invited on by his father in march. my husband would not let me use funds unless he went and invited himself, making his father furious he came instead of his best friend. His father tried every trike in the book to get him put off the cruise. then when nothing worked he got drunk to screw up his courage to come after my husband, and ended up laying in front of our hotel room with his neck needing fused after his son broke it with one punch.
          I know someplace I lost my way in being a wife. I just don’t know how far we can go in my husbands retribution of 42 years of abuse. There are things from before I ever knew of my husband that had happened that was found out about recently by both myself and his mother like the night his father and his friends tied him to a tree and whipped him with electric cord in his senior year until he required three units of blood and 153 stiches. I am left without any way to say anything about my husbands actions now. Many in the family think he was right. Including my own mother.

          1. Your husband’s journey is his responsibility. Everyone is focusing their efforts on trying to control and raise this grown man. The efforts are futile. No one can change another, especially one who has no desire to change. Each of us can only change him or herself.

            You shouldn’t have to use sex to control the behavior of a grown man. Sex in marriage is about expression of love and intimacy, and should never be used as a weapon, tool of control, or method of punishment. Your marriage is deeply unhealthy. You and your husband are toxic for each other, and should each learn from your great mistakes when you move on. I wish you luck.

          2. Callie,

            You sound like the manipulative psychopath in this drama. Your husband is lucky that he finally grew a backbone and stood up to your manipulation and his father’s manipulation. Sounds like you would have been happier married to your husband’s father. I don’t mean that in a mean way, I mean that in a truthful way.

          3. Darling we were not trying to raise a grown man. We just wanted him when he first refused to reenlist in the Navy, he wanted to come home and go back to his UAW big three auto workers job. If he had reenlisted he would have been sent to teach in Kings bay for the next three years after another year of patrols. He had served in the army until 1976. and when he came back most of the people that had seniority over him had retired which gave him more seniority than 60 percent of the 7000 person work force or 4200 younger people trying to get their lives started. most had four or more years less seniority than my husband.
            I could see he was tired when he came home wanted a few weeks between his return and going back. He was seasick for most of the next year until his inner ear finally became used to not having a moving deck under him and due to living at over sea level pressures most the previuose 3 and a half years left him breathless at times. but his father felt it was best to keep him off kilter. Said He did not have the right to come home and disrupt the lives of people just starting theirs. His father was anti union my husband was pro. His father felt my husband should just shut his face and obey what social and political perks bought people. my husband felt that society was just there as a thorn in his side. It was only supposed to be two years before we were to let him have his way. Then the Vacation to Rome 1987 got things in a real bind, his family and others took vacations in a group every three years. My husband and I were going as the honey moon we missed in 1981 due to my husband having to be part of a replacement crew for men that were busted for pot usage on our wedding night. he was at sea the morning after our wedding. the next three years neither of us caught a break A year and a half in I was tired of be a wife in name while my husband was at sea on submarines, I started an affair with an air force Captain at two years I was going to give my husband a divorce and go to Italy with the airman when he told me he did not want a wife in Europe, I had the first of my Bi Polar episodes then. I was sent to my mothers in Virginia A year later when my husband refused reenlistment I went to his fathers home in Indianapolis. When My husband followed in six months, the first hour he was home his father was screaming at him that since he wanted out of the military by god he was going back and reinstating his first day home.
            They put my husband straight to the floor. He got home after a 12 hour shift. Just laid his head on the sofa when his father yanks him up again and tells him to go find a place to live. my husband told him several thing, my wife is going with me, since I have had nothing but coffee in five days we are going to breakfast. His father was yelling he had no time for either get on the bricks. The next thing I hear is his mother begging me to get out to the living room. I went out and my husband had grabbed his father by the collar and pined him against the ceiling straight arm. Was telling him that he was not going to stop him seeing me that morning. To be honest I went out of fear. We chose a house ten minutes from were he worked. He took me home and went back to work anther 12 hour shift. My husbands mother and father got into a very bad argument over what they had pushed my husband into doing that week, his mother said he should have been let a little time off. His father said if he had just st6ayed military his friends would not be all over him. about what his son was planning. We found out the next day, We went and took the house we chose. Went to Ft Ben to military relocation to get our things delivered, and my husband wanted to get some rest before his shift. He really did not like the firebird we owned now, he wanted his blazer back. but when we got back to his fathers there was a minie van and his fathers car. We went in wondering why his father was home, His father told him to sit we had things we need to talk about. A young girl and her mother came out and I could tell she had been crying. His father said he could not wait to start trouble for a week could he, He asked my husband if he knew the girl, My husband said she goes out as he goes in at work but he did not know her, His father said well her father is an area manager and a friend in assembly, my husband work in supplying parts. His father said did my husband put his shift preference in the day before, He said yes why. his father said well you are bumping her, my husband said well I have nine years seniority if she’s the one on days with six months yes she goes to seconds He never5 liked seconds and wanted off the soonest he could. His father said well he was taking his name out of the bump list and not bumping this little girl, My husband was defiant when I told him our marital life was on hold for two years until he could show some compassion for others. He went out to the gear he had from the army he left, grabbed the keys we picked up for the house. Told me that I was a Mercenary ***** and walked out for work. The girls mother asked what was going to happen now. We did not know, the next morning his father took me to our home and we went in with the key I kept. It was just short of 7 AM. my husband had worked until 4 again and we found my husband asleep, his father grabbed his shoulder and got his nose broken, with a swing I reminded my husband the movers were coming. He said he did not care. I could take care of it. He said since we were going to be roomies then why should he care. I said its just two years please understand its what every one wants he said he hoped I had a cold bed. The movers arrived, he ordered a pizza and his mother came over to talk to him out back. She said my husband could not be blamed for his anger could he, I was refusing sex, forcing him to stay on a shift he never liked. she said she hoped that in two years everyone was going to keep their promise. Because this was the last time she was going to ask him to do this.
            Two years to the day I was very upset. We had planned to go to Rome and take the honey moon that we never had, but I was again going to beg my husband to back of something he wanted and planned for the last six months for the same girl. He said I promised two years, That day was the two year point. I said this girl wanted to go with her mother and father as well as her fiance’ it was the Roman holiday every girl wants that’s 21. My husband thought for a minute, Hauled my bible out and made me swear on it that when I came home I would say nothing concerning the vacation he chose, the place or method he chose to travel. and he made me swear I would never say a thing about how he used his seniority after he came home and wanted a promise to start a sex life. I swore to it all, He took us down to the air port and told the girl this was the last time he was backing off his seniority so she better have a different plan the next time, sling her rear at someone else because she was not getting what she wanted the next time because her daddy was an area manager and she was a pretty blond. The manager asked what my husband was talking about. he told him the arrangement he had been asked to back off of twice because of his baby girl, The manager told his wife it was the last time she would do that. He was mad she used him and her sex to get what she wanted.
            My husband practically threw my luggage at me said since he wasn’t going I could carry it myself, He put everyones out like that and did not offer to take anything in for any one. He told me to get the cash I was taking out, He kept 2 thirds of it saying again it was going to cost less as a single ***** that did not keep my word. His father was really angry by this point said So you want to be a baby My husband said goodby and left. We came in at seven thirty on Saturday morning 12 days later we had talked over a few meals in Rome about the best time for my husband to take a vacation and his father and others said between January 2nd and February 14th,said he could work the holiday down week and use that to replace it My husband had not had a day off since the day before we married in 1981 six years before, I though it might keep him out of every ones way. When we got back he pulled our new van Up got everything and was throwing it into the back. I saw his packed sea bag in the back and I knew something was about to come down on me. I said what was his hurry He did not have to be at work for, and he cut me off until the week after the forth in three weeks, He had taken the next three weeks as his vacation time without discussion with me, I asked where he was going and he said we would be in Kansas by about 6 that night. I said I just flew all night and he said I worked all night so what. His father said for Christ sake why did he have to ruin the trip the second we returned, I said I got a peace offering off a new pair of boots and lots of pictures, He said he could care less what we did over there we were going to be in Yosemite after a stop in the Black Hills to see his grandparents, I had never met them. I was angry he was not listening to us, My mother in law said see what he thinks of the time we chose in seven months, he said there’s is a reason that time is wanted by no one, I would blow the budget on Christmas and even if there was enough for a road trip why would he want to take the chance of not getting back in the winter and ice skate across country. I knew he despised Florida from his time in Kings Bay. I thought I better put my foot down I said this is like you are holding a gun to my head. We will see about the second of January. He said He could use a month off and his father went ballistic telling him he was not taking the Christmas down week and making someone else work. My husband asked why not we could go on a windjammer to The Virgin Islands on Christmas eve. I said no just be happy, he asked once is that your final offer I said yes we would talk more on Sunday after he came home from work. The van left the interstate the next exit. He said well I was taking a different trip than him that day. he pulled a manila Envelope out of the center console and I knew I was not going to like what was in it everyone in the van demanded where were we going and my husband told me I had a bus to catch He pulled four sheets out at the bus terminal I got a copy of the divorce filing 13000 in a cashiers check He made up 200 to bring up the 800 I bough back with me to 1000. Bought a ticket back to Norfolk and said have a nice life I am returning you in the same condition I received you in 1981. I asked what about the boots I was thinking of him there. He said give them to another chump I caught. I heard his father say I should knock your heard off for embarrassing the family this way. He raised his fist and a person that got on the bus with me told me that she believed my husband when he told his father the first touch they would erect a headstone where he stood. I got back to my mothers She said she had talked to my husband and his father. I should have been supportive of my husband and his positions. I started receiving checks from my husbands work the next week He was able to keep the overtime and paid all taxes out of his end. I was surprised to get them through when we went for the dissolution hearing. When we arrived at the courthouse for the hearing, it was 2 minutes till the time when my husband walked in He had just worked a 16 hour shift. Put another envelope on the table turning everything he had over to me Paid my legal fees, and said He wanted to get back home and take a shower and get some sleep before his next shift. he was covered in sweat. coolant and cutting oil, and metal chips. carrying a bottle of water, His father stared screaming that he could at least clean up. My husband said shut his face, he was on the job until ten minutes ago that’s due to that court order two years before requiring him to work all hours offered, The judge was the same one that issued that order, one of his fathers friends. He said I could find you in contempt and my husband said that all I have for any of you. The judge said he did not have enough in the cashiers check he turned over. My husband said except for my van there’s nothing else. The judge said did my husband remember the Guardianship He said yes I sent it with her for her mother to take. The judge asked if my mother was assuming it. She said NO. He said I declare this petition Moot said that is was no longer to be though of as existing.
            I tried talking to my husband. I just wanted to know were he lived now he had moved out of the place we had, He was angry and said everyone knows where it is He said I have to be back at work in three hours I need and a little sleep let them show you were My husband walked out of the shower just as we arrived Went turned on the AC in the window laid on the mat in the living room and said welcome I don’t have a place to sit except the floor and he went to sleep My mother and I went to the Ramada and checked in. The 12×50 place he was living in was horrible And we went to look for a new place the next day. His father said he’s still being a big baby since he did not go on vacation two years before, My mother asked what had he done for himself and his father said he works like a man should, said he hated to go near him now. Nobody ever knew when he was going to knock someone senseless. My mother said I had better start making my husband happy. have some kids stop thinking he owed everyone his time. The court order went out of effect keeping him working in 2000 after the judge that made it was voted of the bench, Many think my husband lead the charge against him with letters to the editor. My husband was very critical of the good old boy system they had there and there were terrible arguments about me not keeping my promises about vacations and holiday usually pleading with him to wait for the next one and of course the lack of a sex life. I just kept thinking maybe next year, maybe the next trip. maybe he can have the shift he wants in a few months. There were terrible arguments on the holidays that bough the sherries department to our door and my husband would go to work again My husband had caused one local Union president to be impeached for not backing him on a seniority issue. Then in 2001 he seemed to be always crying and he was loosing control of his body functions, dragging his left foot. Mid year I told his father he was to stop yelling at him. He did any how and my husband threw up all over him. three days later his foreman called and he had thrown up all over her and passed out at her feet. I was called by the ER telling me We had to get to the endoscopic center. My husband we found out was suffering from adult onset Hydrocephalus from a Brain Tumor on the top of his brain stem. The surgery was very dangerous a hole from over his right eye was drilled to the center of his head, an embolism was clipped and sealed after they pulled the tumor out. When he woke up I realized he was watchi89ng everything and quiet. I told his mother and father that something had changed. His father said he was costing people their vacation time he need to get back preferably the next day, the doctor wanted him to recover 60 days. His father and coworkers decided six, If he could stand he could work. I stayed away as much as possible. In November I was instructed to get my husband to back off a job bid. I went to him and made the offer of making our sex life normal by starting him out with the greatest sex he would ever know, he asked me how my affair partner felt about that. I had not realized he knew about that, He said he wanted me dead, and if I wanted to be a tramp do it with some one else. not on his dime he wasn’t backing down on anything any more, His father knew it was one of his buddies he played golf with. he said so my some wants a lesson where his place is. He told Me to lock his son out the next morning, Four men where coming to get my husband to change his mind I could call the police as soon as my husband was bloodied. I told him I did not want any one hurt. He said my son is a Frankenstine He can take a little roughing up. I Bolted the door and four men Including My AP came up on the porch and my husband left all four dying in under a minute then put the door on top of me standing on it and telling me the next time I tried getting him hurt he was going to arrange a date with a six foot deep hole turned with his gym bag put cloths in it and walked out. I heard him tell his father that his freedom was more important than our lives and in front of an officer told his father to let go of his arm or loose it. Then spinal MRSA in 2009 three years of rehab because his spinal cord was crushed. He came home and discovered another affair on his dime as he says. This man thought Sweeping my husbands cane and humiliating him would be fun. His scull was fractured and his face beaten in. My husband went to a stress center for two weeks and when he came home all hades broke over my head. I was going to a political fund raising dinner with my husbands mother father and his best friend. My husband came in and said I had more promises than theirs to keep to him before I kept any to them. He did not give me any choice about sex that night. And any interference in what he wants earns pain including his fathers broken jaw last memorial day, a door man’s teeth all over the street because he pushed my husband and would not let him enter a club with me the same night. Then this years vacation Cruise I begged and pleaded with my husband to just let his father have his way and wait until 2018 for the Hawaii trip. It did not work. I think if his father wants a pink drink my husband would put pink hemlock in front of him and smile. Say there is your pink drink as it was his father was drunk and angry when he came to the door with a ball bat swinging My husband did it like it was rehearsed. blocked the bat. and delivered an upper cut from his waist. His father hit in the hall with his head at a bad angle. My husband just shut the door and smiled I started to say if he would have backed of this time his father might not have been hurt. We were asked not to board and my husband has filed a suit. For discrimination The lines are trying any thing that would get my husband happy. but he said all they had to do was board us both. not say he was not boarding.
            I know the way we treated him for the 33 years of our marriage was not right. I never was able to go against others for him like I should have. I should have run out of the bedroom the morning he arrived home and run out the door with him but I wanted to start a life in peace.
            Its been anything but everything I tried just got my husband more angry. The pressures put on him just made him ill twice, and now I really don’t know what to do since when he forced the sex I now have a two year old son and live way out on the range in North East Wyoming. A husband that had a major stroke a month ago. and my mother who now lives a few yards away angry at me for the way things happened.
            I never expected this kind of war between a father and his son. We have discovered a large part of the problem came from almost nine years before we married. It was when my husband came home from basic training and his first military school before his senior year My husband and three other seniors made four second years quit the team after becoming very rough with the to take the first string positions.
            The second years all had fathers on the school board. His father felt it was to much disrespect to stand for from a seventeen year old, even one that had started to serve his nation. Him and his school board friend knocked my husband out when he arrived home and zip tied his hands around a tree in the county park They tore his shirt off and whipped him with extension cord until he was passed out and bleeding. In the session this spring his father said if he had even whimpered they would have stopped. It was when an army medic looked at why blood was seeping through is utility shirt that they got him 153 stiches and three units of blood The showed us polariods of his back when the doctor started the surgery at Wright pat. They showed us the after image both made me and his mother sick. His mother told his father if she had known what him and his friends had done to her oldest son they would not have had a thing to worry about what my husband was up to every one of them would have been dead. If any one can tell me how to find some way to get my husband to forgive us. After all the pain and denial I just don’t think its possible.

      2. I agree – the CA constantly bends the rules to suit themselves, and really has no rules.
        One sign of a CA that never fails is that they NEVER apologise sincerely, and usually never at all. There’s always a list of excuses as long as your arm, or they blame you.
        They will also NEVER acknowledge that their behaviour hurts or upsets you. They don’t want to talk about you at all, except to blame.
        (A variation on this was my mother, who would constantly say sorry for things, but NEVER when she was actually responsible.

        1. Liz,

          With having a mother that was a CA, would you also find yourself in intimate relationships where you were manipulated as well? I have been so focused on the men in my life that have used manipulation as a way to control but after reading through some of these posts and really taking a look at my life, I am seeing how manipulative my own mother really is. I was just curious. I am only now just starting to really take a look at this and dealing with the reality of manipulation.
          Thank you for your input.

          1. Yes indeed. The father of my son was controlling and became violent when I got pregnant. I left when my baby was 3 months old, and was shocked to realise what poor choice I had made, and blamed myself for a long time.

            It was 15 years of learning before I trusted myself to commit to another relationship with a man. After a learning curve for both of us, we now have a very happy, kind and loving relationship.

            I have 2 siblings who are also very self pitying and manipulative who I have tried to stay friends with, but finally had to walk away.

            My husband could not believe their bizarre carry on, and they also tried to ‘use and abuse’ him, but coming from a healthier background, he just didn’t take it, and that really helped me to finally believe that YES they are the ones who behave badly.

            I have a responsible job that requires hard work and commitment, and I think those demands (even though I resented them when I was younger) forced me to be a responsible, honest person, and gave me self respect.

            Seeing the wood from the trees has been a life long job, to be honest, I am now in my 60s.

            My father was a lovely, warm, honest and loving man, but suffered a lot from depression, because he was caught up in my mothers problems, and she never enjoyed sex, or a joke!

            ADVICE FOR CHOOSING A PARTNER – avoid the intense, self absorbed, humourless types like the plague!

            If a man has a sense of humour, is honest and not arrogant, and makes you laugh – he is the one! Even if you have your ups and downs, you can talk about it, come to understand one another better, and have fun and laugh together – and that gets you through a lot.

            He must also be totally trustworthy, not sponge off you financially, and not be a womaniser.

            A long list! No wonder it took me a while!

            AND REMEMBER: You are 1000 times better off on your own than in a bad relationship. You can still have a good life without a partner, learn to paddle your own canoe, and enjoy your friends and activities you choose.

    2. This is so TRUE. I decided that from now on I will not be “doing unto others as I would like done to me,” (as I usually do) with this individual because he will NOT do the same. So now, I do what I WANT to do, without what I think is “right,” morally and relationally, so to speak.

      1. Ann Did you decide that since you could get nothing in the way of help from officials that you would take matters into your own hands. Start hurting those that had used firearms to force you to do as they wanted.
        My husband did and like the wolf that tasted blood the first time, he liked it. People would consider the last holidays or vacations. intimidation into working as a closed matter after the holiday or vacation was over and because they had used a weapon to force my husband to do as everyone wanted. My husband would suddenly show up where they did not have a firearm within reach, I saw one man bruised and beaten so bad he had to retire. My husband paid special attention to the hand that is the trigger hand making sure the fingers that could be used to fire a weapon were shattered.
        He then left the threat that he did not care weather or not they sent him to jail. he would ensure they also went to jail for intimidation with firearms. The last two years has seen my husband take every right and privilidge he earned or deserved. Everything from raping me after trying to see his point of view for 31 years to breaking his fathers jaw the memorial day of 2014 when he defied his father and took me to after dinner drinks when his father again planed for his friend to take me. My husband stopped us at the door and told him he was going to need a ride to the ER. if he did not turn the reservation ticket over. The poor man ran for his life dropping the ticket.
        My husbands father said my husband was interfering with the traditions formed the last 32 years and my husband said well he was changing them, by accompanying his own wife. His father tried being quiet about what he said next, he said you are embarrassing me and your wife, just shut up and do as we tell you and just stay home, Just this last time do as I wish or I will embarrass you, My husband said no and his father slapped him and received a full backhand from his son across our kitchen. Then my husband took me to the club and his father call ahead and told them to keep my husband out.
        The doorman let me in and stopped my husband, My husband said I am going in with my wife and the doorman pushed him on to a public sidewalk. My husband seized his rights with him and when the rest arrived my husbands knee was in the door mans back and my husband was slamming his face into the pavement. I was again crying. People were being scattered trying to stop my husband. from doing any more damage. And the club manager realizing he could be sued for the pushing went out and told my husband there was a bottle of Dom for him and me if he would stop. The traditions over holidays stopped dead in their tracks and the same for vacations this year when my husband fathers neck was broken this time.
        Controlling my husband and keeping him from what he wants has become nothing but an effort that wont happen, After the MRSA, The events of the last 33 years, he is diagnosed with PTSD, chronic depression and anti social disorder. He doesn’t care if he is left alive after he takes his due.
        Last year one last try at using armed intimidation was made to back my husband off a rule he made. His father and two others came to invite me to breakfast, They wanted to discuss what would be done about my husband when he found out he was not going on this years vacation cruise with me. My husband rule is if I am invited so is he now. The two men accompanying his father were armed one with a .45 automatic. One with a 9mm Ruger automatic. My husband actually put his chest up to each weapon and told them they had to leave him dead or they would by god know they held them on the wrong man, he said they were dam cowards if they did not kill him. We left in a big hurry. and I guess my husband went into his computer and downloaded the CCD security video I did not know he had installed. he was going to go press charges when he spotted his fathers and sisters car were we met them for breakfast with the wives of the two men that were armed along with my mother in law who was yelling about excluding her son the 11th vacation trip over 33 years, she said what’s going on was nothing but abuse of my husband, that we had played with his rights since our wedding for 32 years and she was not standing for it any longer, My father in law was hoping to talk both me and her into figuring out a way to get my husband to take a compromise I was going to offer about waiting till the next time for the trip to Hawaii in 2018, When I offered this compromise my husband had already turned my reservation into a double for both of us, pulled the loan I was making to his fathers friend to go. The waitress was laying our meal out when his sister screamed watch out, My husbands cane whizzed past my face and impacted the first man that had held a weapon on him and he swung it a total of four times, The two friends of his father where bleeding into their breakfast. My husband was holding his father in his seat telling him he was going to die while being impaled for his interference in our life. It took four metro officers to take my husband down, His father was yelling at his mother the incident had been done a half hour and the officers watched the video and let my husband loose.
        We live in fear of crossing my husbands rights after his father got his neck broken when he came to our hotel room that evening with a ball bat intent on sending my husband home. His mother had him transferred out to where we all live now. In a rehab two hours away. We moved 1230 miles to the west felt it was best for everyone, but there are many people angry my husband has taken any controls they had away from them.
        My husband looks at it as a way to take somebody with him when he dies if they murder him. He told one of the men he called a coward he would be standing there in hell to direct him to his lake of fire when he arrived after the needle was applied..
        My mother and sister live across the road from me now, they say I helped abuse a good man for the need for a society to have their way with him.

      2. Why are you bothering with “this individual” Ann?

        He plainly has no respect for you, and you have none for him.

        Find someone you can respect, and who will hold you to higher standards. That person might even be YOU!

  3. Hey everyone. I gotta share this with someone. My life has been badly damaged, over many years, by first a father CA, then a husband. I nearly went mad. Only after the x left, was I able to begin to unravel what went on… and then, finally, after another round of crazy from my father, I happened on the writings of Dr Simon and others who finally enabled me to see. And to begin to protect myself.

    Now, my father is getting on in years, and there are friends and relatives who are hammering on me to “forget and forgive” and move closer and help him. No matter what I say, they have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, and my sense is, they don’t really believe me. After all, in their world, such malevolence is not possible.

    After all that pain and crazymaking, this? WTF am I gonna do? Now on top I have to somehow protect myself from those who are “trying to be helpful” and when I resist, see me as the problem. Life is so damn cruel!

    1. Perhaps in these kinds of instances you just have to keep silent and keep away.

      Could gathering a different circle around you help? Consisting of those, who know better? Those you can inform what’s going on?

      1. Thank you, J, for writing back. I don’t know people who know better except the people on this blog. Friends whom I have tried talking about it with, they react with bafflement (“it is so counterintuitive”) or disapproval (“all people deserve are good, deep down, they deserve our compassion”).

        One friend is finally ordering Dr Simon’s book… I will be awaiting his reaction with eagerness because from his stories, he too has been hit hard by several CAs. He’s so far excused it as “mental illness.”

        1. Vera……one thing I have seen VERY CLEARLY from this Spathcapade is that if you haven’t been through something like this, haven’t been targeted and practically demolished on every level, you just can’t possibly understand. I still don’t fully “get it” and am probably going to have to accept that I never will FULLY get it. Spaths can’t be fully understood IMO.
          I’ve said this before, not sure if it was here or not…………..Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and Spaths are from Hell.
          I’m sorry you are battling with people who don’t understand. It happens. Only we can know what is right for US. I’d say if you don’t FEEL safe getting involved, then it’s your inner wisdom telling you to think long and hard before you do.
          My biggest lesson has been just that. When something doesn’t feel right to ME, that is a sign to slow down or stop and take refuge until I am clear enough to either proceed or back away.
          I have good instincts but have always allowed myself to be talked out of following them or have talked myself out of following them. Well I paid the price this time in a way I will never forget.
          Good luck Vera.

          1. You know Vera, it doesn’t matter if he is mentally ill or a CA Spath. If he or anyone else is toxic to you then it’s more than likely not in your best interest to get re involved. If you think you can handle it and that you have clear and strong enough boundaries to protect yourself then that is another option. Personally, I have terrible boundaries and have a very hard time thinking on my feet. That makes it even more important to stay away from toxic people.
            Dr. Simon, I would love you to write a book specifically on self protection and boundary setting. Protective tactics and skills. I think many people get caught in these people’s webs not only because the CAs are manipulative but also because they are not prepared to dodge and perry around the CAs tactics.

          2. Puddle, I also have had weak boundaries. And I have worked very hard over the last year to firm them up, and to create protective distance yet not give up entirely. He is the only relative I have in the States. I was successful, or so it seemed. Then I found out today he’s been lying to a family friend about some important stuff, basically poisoning the well, as they say, making her distrust what I have told her about myself.

            I think in part it is revenge for talking to others about the crap he’s pulled, and partly an effort to make himself look good despite it.

            I don’t think he’s a spath, strictly speaking. Always led what folks call a “responsible life.” I think he is what they call a “malignant narcissist.” Like you say, toxic is toxic.

          3. As for books about Boundaries, I’ve spotted Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s book, Boundaries, on Amazon. Haven’t read it myself and I have schoolwork to deal with right now, so perhaps someone else could recommend it.

    2. I just happened across this website (about 10 minutes ago) and immediately purchased In Sheep’s Clothing in order not only to understand CAs, but to understand myself. I am stunned as I’m writing this to realize that I am a neurotic person. I have ‘an overactive conscience and excessive sense of guilt or shame and it is so easy to make me doubt myself’.

      I hope I’m not out of line in responding to Vera about my experience. Vera, your friends and relatives wont believe you (and don’t want to believe you) because it didn’t happen to them. I also experienced the same pressure from family members to work out a relationship with my very difficult father before he died. The reason there is pressure is because if you surrender (and that’s what it is), it would make THEIR lives easier. I ended up setting very strict boundaries and stuck to them, i.e., I told my father explicitly that he was not allowed to yell/lie/manipulate/demand/demean/humiliate me. When he did, I refused to have any interaction with him. He died 6 years ago (I think) and to this day I have no regrets because I always left the door open, but with my rules. CAs are adept at surrounding themselves with respectable supporters – which can make them seem ‘Oh So Normal’.

    3. I know what you mean, that others want you to stay in relationship not realizing what is going on. I need to stop explaining, they do not get it. With my ex, he is so helpful, always there, etc…he has been manipulating me to have what he wants, his way, his ex wife as friend, all my time and attention…he is possessive, etc. Always Has To Win, too. Neighbors say he would do anything for me…yeah, anything but go away. I feel guilty because he LOOKS like such a great guy, but he isn’t…he is an aggressive manipulator.

    4. that’s the problem with these CAs, they are good at covering up in front of other people… they are very good are “showing” that all is good in their world, and that they are perfect. Behind closed doors though they are monsters and mean and act as if the world owes them everything. I know where you are at, I was there, sometimes, my CA / PA takes me back there but I fight back. It hards for people who haven’t lived with them to understand, they cannot fantom that this is actually happening.

      1. Mixed up………….This is very true,,,,,,NO ONE on the outside will see or understand what’s going on on the inside and they count on that. Their whole life is a LIE! They are a lie, a mask, an act. It’s disgusting.

        1. One of my favorite CA/ Spath quotes!
          “The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie,
          comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.
          And having no respect he ceases to love,
          and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices,
          all from continual lying to other men and to himself.”

          Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazo

          1. So glad you thought to mention this great quote! I’ve known so many CDs who lied so often, so intensely, and with such reckless abandon that they eventually came to believe many of their lies. They were indeed among the most beastly of folks I’d ever had to deal with. And it’s not so much that they’d lost all ability to tell truth from friction as it is that they became entrenched in the mindset that reality is whatever they say it is. I actually intervened with some of these folks, and while they never appreciated the methods I used to make their lies self-evident, they eventually came to some appreciation of how distorted their thinking had become because of their lying.

          2. Spathtardx actually said this to me one time……..” You know how when you tell a lie enough times, you start to believe it?”
            Clearly he knew……..

          3. Mine said to me, it feels true to me so how can you stand there and tell me what my truth is? I feel it there for it is true and you should respect that, ..its coming from me so what more do you need than that. He was accusing me of cheating, which i am not doing.

    5. Hi Vera,
      I just found this website and read a lot of this page. My dad and soon to be ex-husband are both CA’s. It has been terrible. I know how you have felt, and no one can truly know until they’ve lived it. My big question is…WHY do they act like this??

      1. They act like this because it gives them a feeling of power over you. They do it because they enjoy it.

        But in the end, who cares why they do it? You can waste energy analysing them.

        They are bad for you, they are toxic, get them out of your life.

        Keep it simple, and take action!

    6. I’m not surprised you have a bunch of people giving you attitude. Listen to your gut. I can tell from your last paragraph that you know what’s right. Lots of people trumpet the forgive and forget policy without understanding that there is no place for forgiveness in the absence of prerequisite repentance. As you know, psychopaths and sociopaths are incapable of repentance.I’m not interested in a philosophical debate on whether that is by their choice or not. Why should you care? Further, there’s no repentance when they repeat their behaviour. Full stop. So don’t get all flustered about it, it only matters how these individuals contribute to your happiness. If they don’t do that, get as far from them as possible. You are not responsible for their “happiness” but your own.I suspect that the “trying to be helpful” people are truly nothing of the sort. That’s their excuse to jump on the sociopath bandwagon. If they were genuine about caring about you, they would not want to upset you. They don’t need to have gone though what you have been through to be compassionate or a friend. Unfortunately many lack courage to call out the pathological individual and expose the ugliness for what it is. Their weakness makes them want to target you and blame you. Don’t take their opinions on board. Stay strong. You have incredible courage and love inside you. Also, anger is not a dirty feeling. Anger is necessary to give you energy to defend yourself. You won’t put up with garbage when your angry, trust me.

      1. Max – I am astounded @ the astuteness of your response; however, my favorite portion is this, ‘Lots of people trumpet the forgive and forget policy without understanding that there is no place for forgiveness in the absence of prerequisite repentance.’

        They do not understand that ‘a MALADAPTIVE leopard cannot change their spots’ (without years of therapy, at least) – it is heartwarming to realize that there are some truly evolved individuals left out there in the world 🙂 ~ cheers!

      2. Yes, very well said if I may offer! I’ve spent far too much time debating over and over with myself on whether the actions and intentions of whatever the latest act of nastiness from my wife was intended or not. Yet she is quite capable of and highly sensitive in identifying said acts of supposed nastiness in others, so why can she not see it in herself, I will often muse!? But at the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter. If it is unacceptable, it is still unacceptable whether intended or not. The ‘skill’ is to call them out on whatever they have done…..and walk away promising oneself not to get drawn into the to-be-expected offence and other such carnage.
        Walk away!

    7. Vera, my kids expected me to do the same! I tried to communicate with him for about 3 months (to get a fair property settlement) and he started trying to manipulate me again!…but this time I was completely aware. The others in the family who are also ‘his followers’ will never understand unless they are the victim. I believe that is exactly what we become.It is an evilness that no one understands unless you are right in it, and as melodramatic as it sounds, I liken it to an act of slavery.

      1. Pigs,,,,,,The whole nature of it IS dramatic…..like a really bad soap opera. its just amazing and disgusting and more than anything else for me……sad.

      2. It’s gotten worse! The eldest is our accountant and I believe the majority of his decisions she has made.

        2 weeks ago she decided to take ME to court for non payment of half of her bill. This is despite the fact I have not had a penny income from the partnership in 22 months, she has loaned him money to live on (secured against one of our joint assets!)and there’s no proof that he has paid half the bill.

        I have since discovered that she has not furnished the last 2 years income tax for me- which she was engaged and paid to do. I have engaged a new accountant who she refuses to give financial details to (and she the daughter has lodged a lien over the financial records- I wonder why!!) and she had the audacity to advise them that they should not take me on, for ethical reasons!

        Then there has been a few occasions of stalking-by car and where I work. When I got the person to person registered letter, without her identifying name on the envelope (yes silly me should not have accepted it but I recognised the hand writing)which had the letter saying she was taking me to the magistrates court for non-payment(It’s $780 mind you!) and despite the fact she had received a letter saying she had to wait for legal opinion, all I could do was just laugh!

        Some days I feel like I am surrounded by circling sharks! If it wasn’t for my friends who have supported me I think I would go mad. They can’t believe people are capable of such things. It is like living in a real life farce.

        I jokingly say that my life story, as yet unwritten is rapidly becoming a trilogy!

        PS: I have only gone into this much detail so that others who might be in the same situation are forewarned of what can happen. The first words the Anglicare Counsellor said to me almost 2 years ago was ‘sack your daughter as your accountant’. Of course he refused.

        1. Pigs……..What a nightmare……….LET her take you to court! If you have plenty of evidence of all you say you do, she will have to foot the costs of a failed attempt to get money from YOU?? I might be wrong but it sounds like the evidence is on YOUR side not hers?

        2. Pigs…….It is like someone put some kind of hallucinogenic substance in my brain for two + years or some kind of bizarre dream I’m stuck in.

    8. i believe after many years of serious thought that we have “friends” and “enemies” , the latter being people who do not care truly for our welfare. it is more than appropriate to “fire” the enemies even parents altho one does not have to send them an anouncement. No you should not move near him .i wish you luck!!

    9. The pain is excruciating when you are the victim of abuse and you are also blamed, criticized, and rejected by other people in your life because of it. It is almost unbearable to see the gloating bully surrounded by sympathizers and supporters while you, having done nothing wrong, are frowned upon, ostracized, and alone. For many, it is unbearable.

      But we are not alone. We are many who have suffered and are insightful about the mechanics of personality disorders and abuse. We interact on blogs and online forums, offering each other support. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find each other in the real world? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could feel strengthened by our numbers? If we could network effectively, we would reduce misery, save lives, and become a counter-force to evil. If such an organization exists, I want to join, and if not, it’s about time one was started.

      1. I say men are from mars women are from venus, they are from uranus.
        You are so right. I am thanking God for this site. I am not alone!!!!!!

      2. I hear you on this point that the lynch mob thickens with the side of the bully and it is just about more that one can take.

        1. SO very true. Between a rock and a hard spot. If you try to plead your case, you are the crazy one because they are so bloodless and cool, the followers will never question the villain.

    10. Vera, trust your instincts – only you really understand fully how damaging your father has been in your life.

      You don’t need to get other people to understand. Of course it would be nice if they did, but the reality of life is that there are times when we really are alone, thrust back on our own strength and clarity, and have to make the decision we KNOW is right, even when we feel misunderstood.

      You will survive, and come out stronger!

      Ask your friends to respect your decision, even if they don’t understand it. If they are real friends, they will.

  4. Vera…lying is not a good sign. Lying about you equals very bad sign for you. Red flag. Red light at the intersection means stop. Wait. Stop, look and listen before you cross the street……or you might get broadsided by a Spath.
    Yes, it really doesn’t matter if he is a Spath or a koala bear, if he and the people who surround him are not healthy and will affect you in a negative way, proceed only with great caution and very slowly.
    I do wish you luck and more importantly peace with this.

  5. Good discussion going on here about some important issues. I might chime in with a few thoughts: The failure of others to fully appreciate the toxic impact of character disturbed folks gets easier to deal with the stronger we become ourselves and the more reliable we’ve gotten with setting and enforcing our limits and boundaries. And it’s much easier to “let go” and move on as well. As always, whenever we focus and invest time or energy on external people, places, and things we have no power over, we disadvantage ourselves and set ourselves up for depression. The key is the resolve to be stronger. Confidence comes only with the repeated practice of good self-care. And, as always, it’s important not to play the self-blame game while getting to that stronger place.

    With regard to the issue of the various labels out there and Vera’s uncertainty about the most accurate label for the person telling lies, it’s important to remember that there’s a certain degree of arbitrariness and inadequacy to all the labels. I can’t stress this enough (and it’s the main reason I wrote “Character Disturbance”): character disturbance exists along a spectrum. And it’s a widespread phenomenon that varies in intensity and quality. We don’t have to do a perfect job of figuring out just what type of disturbance someone has. We just need to establish our own standards for the minimum character requirements we want to see in those with whom we have more meaningful relationships.

    1. I like that. I find the part about “minimum character requirements” greatly specific. Makes it easier to scan what other people are like.

      It’s so darn easy to go by superficial impressions.

      1. I love that phrase ‘minimum character requirements’ too – and moreover as something we have the right to set for ourselves, without worrying about the diagnosis. SO liberating.

    2. Dr. Simon……You know, something just occurred to me…..I HAD/ have to focus on “him” because basically Im wanting to validate myself and confirm my instincts. THAT is the most damaging part about this whole mess…..so many discrepancies and so little “hard evidence”. So much wiggle room. It’s just not black and white, in your face which has left me in a seemingly endless loop of trying to figure out what was real, what was not…….or if was all just an out right farce at my expense.
      I have done some off the wall things in trying to find validation and confirmation about who and what he really is. I called his x-wife’s sister who spoke with me a great length but was very careful to not go into any details……she just told me, in a way that i totally got, to trust my instincts. But it wasn’t enough…..it still left may questions in my head. I tried calling his x wife but she declined,,,,,,I am so determined sometimes! Of course it makes me look like i’m in left field, or so he would want me to think, but my mind is just not dealing with the “not knowing” part of this.
      HE knows who I am. HE walks away not having to wonder if he could actually be in danger. It’s horrible to think that the person I “loved” is someone who doesn’t exist….A total stranger! SO, Yeah,,,,,,my focus tends to go outside of myself!

    3. I’m wondering Dr Simon, you say there is a continuum or spectrum from neurotic to Character Disturbed. So is there any correlation, in your experience, with how much a CD person also has some neurotic-ness and their chances of really changing?

      Not sure if I put that very well.

      I just feel that my husband has somehow tapped into his little bit of neurotic-ness and is beginning to listen to me – really take me seriously and not fight back.

      Not holding my breath, but things are looking up just now. And it doesn’t feel like ‘cherries’. I’ll wait and see!

      So I’m wondering, is there a better chance of real change, depending on the degress of neurosis someone has?

      and if someone is a mix of CD and Neurotic, can neurosis be eclipsed by CD behaviour if someone isn’t checked or challenged and then can they ‘re-awaken’ or ‘tap back into’ their neurotic side if they are pushed hard enough?

      am I making any sense?

      Rose

      1. Makes perfect sense and you’re on the right track. In fact, during the late 80s and early 90s many “therapeutic-community”-styled inpatient treatment centers dealing with children and adolescents showing signs of character disturbance but still having some neurosis tried to put enough pressure on the patients with tight program controls in order to bring their neurosis to the fore. Why? Because once they were presenting with more neurosis, that neurosis could be treated with conventional psychotherapy. These days, this model is no longer used very much. But the underlying reality is the same. If there’s sufficient motivation and sufficient underlying neurosis present, with enough benign but firm “pressure” (applied through artful confronting of thinking errors and irresponsible behavior patterns), on the client, then any underlying neurosis will come to the fore and can be dealt with. The big mistake, however, made by therapists not well enough versed in dealing with character disturbance is not dealing with character issues first and resolving them through more specialized means. Only when the character issues are out of the way is it appropriate to deal with any underlying neurosis.

        1. Dr Simon,,,,,,,that is not very encouraging give that the number of therapists who are familiar enough with character disturbance vs neurosis, let alone able to treat character disturbances, are few and far between! It’s hard enough to find a good therapist to treat neurosis. We need more of you!! 🙂

          1. I’ve seen therapists through my adult life, beginning at age 18 and ending at age 39.

            It was a doctor not one of the therapists who first suggested to me that some people are manipulative, and that some people give off signals that show them to be easy prey, and we owe it to ourselves to not give off those signals and practice not giving off those signals.

        2. thanks Dr Simon, that helps a lot.

          I was beginning to feel guilty (typical neurotic!)about keeping my husband focussed on changing his belief systems and faulty thinking patterns even while affirming his good changes. My husband seems to have found some of his ‘neurotic internal brakes’ and is beginning to use them – sometimes!

          I was feeling guilty about keeping on insisting he deal with the faulty thought processes still.

          Now I realise they DO still need to be addressed, otherwise he’ll revert to type all to easily!

          So I’ll keep up the pressure for change and keep protecting myself until I sense he’s dealing with the CD part of himself, not just covering it over with the neurotic part (or perhaps pretence).

          I’ve pointed out to him how these changes will be useful to him in dealing with the CD types he has to work with. And a couple of other win-win scenarios. That seems to go down quite well – he’s listening and thinking rather than discrediting or dimissing my ideas.

          Affirming him when he’s exhibited a better way of behaving or more healthy attitudes is hard when I’m still angry but it seems to help us both somehow. Builds something positive between us.

          He’s also beginning to realise his role in my healing process. Now I’m more confident, I can keep reminding him how he can do that and thank him when he has. Now that DOES feel like progress!

          I’m still sceptical to a certain extent but I think healthily so. I’m also using these skills in the voluntary work I’ve just taken on. I realise my boss has given off a couple of ‘red flags’, so I’m careful. I’m a volunteer, so I don’t feel so much under her influence and it feels very freeing to have this empowerment!

          I’m aiming to become fit enough to get a paid job soon! This is HUGE for me, thanks to everyone who has supported me.

          Rose

          1. Hi Rose,
            A person will only change when the old ways stop working, or they start to feel uncomfortable with them.

            Your husband actually NEEDS to feel genuine guilt, remorse and shame in order to motivate himself to do better.

            Well done both of you = you are speaking out, and he is listening – this is the beginning of a better relationship.

  6. It seems like there is more and more info out there, a lot of it free for the taking, on how to spot these CAs and Spaths. Once one is educated in how to spot troubled people you at least stand a chance if getting out of a situation before its too late. I saw red flags right from day one but I didn’t know HOW bad it could be. I’ve never been in THIS type of bad relationship. And I’ve never been with a man who knew exactly how to get what he wanted most of the time. Being held for me is like crack cocaine. I had very little physical affection when I was a child. He held me like no other man ever has. Oxytocin poisoned me!!
    He would hold me, comfort me, then drop me on my head……
    Anyhow, once that pattern was in place there was no escape. I was hooked. It would do everyone good to read about cognitive disonance(sp). In the spider analogy, this is the part where your insides are being liquified for the spider to feed off of. I grew weaker and weaker and consequentially needed him more and more, grew more and more depressed. All the while I was mesmerized with ” I love you’s”, unkept promises, worthless apologies, etc…..strung along but never happy or content. I protested or attempted to, I was bad prey……I struggled to much in the web and kept tearing it and he would have to repair it. This caused Spath x very much frustration! Now why can’t you be a good fly and accept your captivity and abuse with levity and a smile? You know I like you better when you are smiling! ( “levity and a smile” …..borrowed those words from a friend!)

  7. Dr. Simon, the only thing is……a lot of times these people keep their false mask on for a very long time and have been living their entire life tricking people into believing they are someone they are not. They also have an uncanny ability, a sixth sense, to spot vulnerabilities in others. They know when and where to strike. Some of us make it easier for them then others. Also, sometimes a person is in a vulnerable place in their life and more easily duped because of it. Someone grieving the loss of their husband for instance. Easy target potentially. I think you need to invent a Sociopath detector!! Like those gadgets they instal in people’s cars that have had multiple drinking and driving arrests.

    1. So true, and very well said! What I tried to do with both my books on character is to give people a framework by which they could effectively “size-up” a person’s character based on the features they display (even the charming, false-faced ones). I know I didn’t do a perfect job, but that was my attempt at a character “detector” of sorts.

      1. You did a fine job Dr. Simon. They are masters however. I know this is a lesson in self moderation for me. I would like to think that I will never jump into any human relationship again without really getting to know someone. They say that a sociopath or narcissist can only keep their mask on and true self hidden for a year or so. It usually slips off in a huge way within a year to a year and a half? The guy I was involved with was showing himself, now that I know, within the first couple weeks. I just didn’t have the where with all to act on my instincts. It’s the love bomb beginning that gets you off center. From that point on, you are at the disadvantage.
        It’s hard not to feel foolish when I see that my own weakness, ego, vulnerability and hunger for love and companionship painted a bullseye on my forehead. I’m certainly not excusing him, just aware of my own issues that made me a good target.
        That he took advantage of my vulnerability and lied to me or at best, didn’t disclose the truth of who he really was….that is on him. In my opinion it’s rape. I know for a fact that I feel violated in that way. I feel polluted. My home feels polluted and it’s very unnerving to think that I’ve been in close proximity with a stranger. It’s horrible.

        1. Thanks for your honesty here, Puddle, and for sharing. I’m sure several of the readers can identify, and they should find some helpful guidance in your comments.

          1. Your very welcome. I’m more than happy to contribute. I’ve ” got a dog in this fight”! LOL
            I know how LOST I was until I came across your books and web site and then other books and web sites. I just kept saying…” THAT’S HIM! THAT’S HIM!” I WASN’T making it up!!
            It really can be maddening if you don’t have the help and validation this website provides. It’s crucial to KNOW what these individuals are in order to be able to escape the cognitive disonance that keeps you weak and trapped. Too weak to break free is a dangerous pace to be.
            I now understand how battered women get trapped in that cycle and keep going back. Mean while they get held accountable for staying in an abusive relationship because outsiders who have never been involved with one of these monsters, don’t understand the dynamics at play. SO sad.

          2. Puddle, I am betting next time you will know within weeks or even days. That’s my experience now. You just watch the behavior, and you will know, no matter the words.

          3. Vera……I hope so but I actually am a very hard person to explain that way. It’s like my objective self is an entirely different person than I am when I go to function in the world. A friend of mine that i met online who has also been through one of these nightmares…..she got involved with another undesirable and right from the start I could see that something was off track………..and it turned out exactly that. But ………myself….I am a little different. Vulnerable and naive in the moment, i have a hard time keeping track of too many things at once and I’m easily overwhelmed.
            But the thing that should protect me now is that I now know what i didn’t know then……that there are monstrous people in this world, people I never knew existed. I have never told someone how much pain I felt until him……I tried so hard to let him know how much I was hurting and how I felt so weakened and tired and confused…..he kept the game going though and I still haven’t come to terms with it mentally and sometimes feel like I never will. I just can’t put it together…..I can’t digest it…..I can’t put together that the person I loved and who I spent almost two years loving………not in a perfect relationshi*………is the same person who I now wouldn’t speak to ever again. A bad “man”.

          4. I was in it for 18 years. How do you like them apples? Gah. But after a decade, I am very ok. Time wounds all heels. 😀

        2. Puddle- I know exactly what you are saying! I asked many counsellors and my doctor if I had an invisible tattoo on my forehead which read “martyr”

    2. Puddle- well said! And I LOVE your last sentence. I’ve felt the same. How come I am so stupid? How come I didn’t see it coming? When I went to my GP I burst into tears and the only thing I could say was: “I am a really good person” It wasn’t till them that she looked at me, thought for a second and realised the seriousness of the situation. That’s when she gave me the script which said take a holiday on your own. Bless her forever!

      1. Pigs, Stupid and naive (or ignorant of the truth) are two entirely different things. I am apparently “stupid” emotionally, as in when my emotions are activated,,,,,my brain is deactivated,,,,,and i become objectively disabled. I am not normally lacking in assertiveness or self protection but he targeted the weakest link in my chain and it still amazes me that he did it the FIRST night we were together. He was able to plant a seed in my vulnerability that was a direct hit……..bullseye…….and he kept the hook set, reseting it if I tried to spit it out. REALLY SPATHTARDX??????Is that what you excel at in life?? And you dare to accuse ME of damaging your self esteem? A**Hat!

      2. I am just starting to really see how manipulated I am and how sophisticated his manipulative tactics are. Wow…this has been very helpful reading these posts. Good to know I am not the only one.

  8. Just want to leave some words of encouragement. I wanted to leave my husband after 43 years, but I knew I couldn’t accomplish my escape without help. I went to an MFT who helped me make a plan. (I remember telling her I felt trapped in a “spider’s web”.) I finally left my husband when he was out of town, and I ran away to a city 500 miles away. I found another MFT and, eventually, a psychologist and a woman’s group with ladies who understood what I had been through.

    I am also fortunate in that I have three really true friends of 30+ years who believe and support me. I don’t concern myself with what anyone else thinks. My husband (we are still not divorced) has wooed my daughters and other relatives away, mostly by spending money on them, and I feel like I have lost my whole family. I am often lonely, but I am making a new life and my health is good now, whereas I was slowly dying at the time I escaped.

    Learn from Dr. Simon. I have learned so much the “hard way” and
    I recognize that he offers you wise counsel.

    1. Judy, good for you. I’m glad to hear you escaped and sorry you’ve been through something like this. It’s so difficult. It is a very disorienting experience because its not just about the trauma of the relationship, the end of any significant relationship is difficult. This type however….hits on so many levels and disrupts our spence of self, and the world in general. I feel like I got launched into the air and landed on the point of a pin, so precariously perched that even the slightest breeze could topple me. Truely a nightmare and one that is impossible to wake up from.
      I guess the thing that keeps me going and gives me hope within myself and for the future is the instinctive feeling this I will emerge from this stronger and wiser in time and ultimately better for it. My consolation is that he will wallow in the slime pit that is his life, covered with his own excrement. Its sad that he will inevitably cause more pain and suffering for the rest of his pathetic life but there is nothing I can do to change that.

      1. Puddle, your words, “I just kept saying…” THAT’S HIM! THAT’S HIM!” I WASN’T making it up!!
        It really can be maddening if you don’t have the help and validation this website provides.” expresses exactly how I feel after 16 years and two court cases where he portrayed me as being crazy, a liar, and a bad parent in order to buff up his own image. And Thank You, Dr. Simon for lifting the weight and burden of who my ex-husband continues to be by showing the needed change in my perspective or focus with your words, ” We just need to establish our own standards for the minimum character requirements we want to see in those with whom we have more meaningful relationships.”

          1. the book “boundaries” mentioned earlier in this thread is one i’ve read many times. it’s by john townsend and henry cloud. it took me a long time to absorb. it gave me confidence.

            because it is a very christian based book, my husband agreed to read it with me. (this was before i read dr simon’s book “in sheep’s clothing” and realised my husband is CV). we read aloud 20 mins at a time and talked about what was said and how we might apply it to our relationship. my husband, to my great astonishment, couldn’t accept most of the ideas in the book. he says if i set boundaries, i am controlling him. (because it affects him and stops him doing what he wants) i think that proves a lot to me! he is definitely CV and i need to learn to protect myself.

            I feel very angry that it’s still me doing all the emotional work to keep safe and keep our relationship going. I’ve decided that if i leave it will be when i feel strong enough, not when i’m feeling hopeless and ashamed. it will be a positive decision, not a despairing, defeated one.

            so far, every idea, book or therapy i’ve tried to introduce to help save our relationship has been used by my husband as a weapon against me. he blames me, makes me the victim, charms therapists so they leave me feeling unsafe in their presence and i’m getting to the stage where i’m just concentrating on learning to protect myself. I stupidly introduced him to the word ‘projection’ and now, according to him, everything i do and think is projection!! argh!!

            I can’t be creative or care enough any more to suggest win-win situations. I don’t feel it’s worth the hassle.

            I will wait and watch while I get stronger and learn to resist his tactics to see if he really means his “sorries” and tears by changing his behaviour and attitudes. If there is no proof of repentance, i will leave once i’ve worked out how. i have nothing to my name, everything is joint and I never worked more than odd bits and pieces, (and not for the last 8 years as I’ve been ill with CFS). we’ve been married 30 years so i’m no spring chicken!

            luckily i have family support, so i’m not fighting that battle as well. but he is a well known christian leader in the area and his reputation will be badly soiled by my leaving – and I know I will be blamed as i can’t tell any of his parishoners what is going on. it wouldn’t be right, they wouldnt believe me, I would be seen as the problem, rocking the boat, sour grapes etc and it wouldnt really do any good. But it means i have no friends in the neighbourhood I can really confide in. they all know my husband in his professional role and so i’m on my own except for family who live nowhere near.

            If i leave, it will probably be impossible for me to continue in the area of christian ministry i love. i can’t see how i can continue when my husband and i are both involved in the same organisation and we’re separated – because I left him. that will be heartbreaking. but i have to let it go.

            this blog thing (i’ve never used such a thing before, i hope i’m doing it right) is a very valuable support. real people with similar stories and struggles. It’s great to have it overseen by Dr simon who is wise to what is really going on and that such people as CV’s etc DO exist and we’re not just being paranoid or lacking compassion and thinking nasty things about others. that is helpful beyond words. i can’t keep ringing my sisters or talking to my adult children, i need another place to deal with this stuff. perhaps i’ve found it.

            my personal counsellor, who is the only other therapist i’ve come across that understands CV types, has just retired, so i can’t see her anymore. i’m feeling vulnerable and lost. we tried couple counselling instead but i didn’t feel safe and the counsellor said she was concerned for my husband’s self esteem when i said things like I feel abused. After five weeks, I’ve told my husband and the therapist i won’t go again.

            I want to find another therapist who understands CV’s – and how different they are to the classical training they all seem to have about everyone being basically neurotic. At least i now have the ‘official language’ to ask a therapist and check what their approach and beliefs are!! thank you Dr simon!!

            I will get strong again. I will be better for this somehow. It’s not easy though!!

            Rose

          2. not sure how to amend the comment i just made about boundaries book etc but i realise i’ve got the initials wrong – i mean CA – covert agressive – not CV!

            sorry for any confusion.

            Rose

    2. Judy- my heart goes out to you! You will survive and be happy. You know what I do? I sing in the non performing community choir, I’ve joined the Red Hatters and I do heaps of work for an overseas charity…all of it brings me joy. I hope that you find yours, I really do.

  9. We take a look at “plausible deniability” and we could understand how “denial” and “diversion” come into play. This gets me thinking about communication problems within a chain-of-command that can be used to rationalize denials of error within an individuals actions. I tend to believe someone can do this then they know that they can get away from any kind of blame.

    It’s a red-flag to me with how these tactics operate. I know we tend to assume for the worst in humans, but i think it’s vital instead of believing that your surroundings are “completely honest” and that nobody would EVER lie by omission.

    1. Agree with you, Mav. It’s all too easily, natural and hard-wired within many of us to assumer what we see is all there is.

  10. They say just enough for it to sound ” good ” but leave out the truth of the matter and the truth of who they really are. Lies of omission are just as dangerous as outright lies of commission. It’s all black lies to keep you in the dark and them on the gain. Predatory tactics.

  11. My ex’s favorite motto is “I don’t get even, I get ahead.” – scary.

  12. My X’s favorite motto was “What’s fair . . . Is when I come out ahead!”.
    Another of his favorite expressions was “Exploit, exploit, exploit!”
    What an excuse for a human being he was!

        1. He forgot to mention that part. 😉

          Btw, for him, not doing guilt or shame was the hallmark of sanity. He was proud of it.

    1. Sarah,
      Red flag, red flag, fed flag!!!
      Through the on line blog sites….I’ve come to see that a lot of these Spaths give themselves away pretty early on, IF you know what to look for. They call these hints “tells”. It’s like they are testing the waters.
      I think that the more of these “tells” they get away with, the more emboldened they get. If they re confronted about their inappropriate behavior they quickly turn it around on you and make the thought of further confrontation so unpleasant you think twice about it the next time. It creates a loose lose position for the victim.

  13. Coming from a background of abuse and neglect i’ve had the misfortune of knowing all too well what narcissistic people are capable of. Being a mental health practitioner has also contributed to my knowledge of these perfidious character disorders and traits. Yet lo and behold I am currently extricating myself from a collaboration with an insidious, seemingly benevolent manipulator. The other person in our 3 person ‘team’ is romantically entangled with the manipulator and of course sees him as a wonderful human being. I am perceived as the off-balance one steeped in projections from my traumatic history. Nevertheless I do trust how viscerally activated I am by his maneuvering and the toxicity of the dynamics. Addressing my concerns with both of them (including the absence of moral integrity around their having an adulterous affair) further validated for me how steeped in denial and rationalization they both are. Hence, my dissolving my partnership. I feel as if I’m breaking out of an invisible prison that I struggled to see!
    I am now clear of how he maneuvers. To achieve his goals, he needs the cooperation of others. So he charms others for the purpose of controlling them and uses camaraderie to encourage loyalty. At the same time, he preaches teamwork, and professes benevolent ethical values to enhance his reputation. He creates grandiose schemes to boost his power. He constantly uses stealth and deception to influence the thinking of those around him to actualize his self-serving ambitions. Nothing is ever as it appears. Because he is so very skilled at disguising his motives, he is not easy to spot, and because he charms others with charisma and accolades he appears to have sincere intentions. People buy into his elaborate fiction. His disguise is very powerful. So voicing my perceptions about him is perceived as paranoid and confused., if not delusional….other than those closest to me who completely believe my perceptions.
    Yet even though I have witnessed him distorting the truth to others, being evasive, outright lying, and maneuvering to get me to subordinate myself to secretarial tasks for him he still comes off as believable! He makes unilateral decisions while it appears that it’s a team effort. With the collaborator he’s involved with (i.e.- he’s married) he plays the victim so that she’ll accommodate his agenda. Hence, she’s bought into this farce that his wife is complicit in and fine with the two of them having an affair, and that eventually he and she will be together. She’s become his puppet. All this explains how, for the past year I’ve been feeling enormously pressured to align myself with activities that don’t reflect my vision or goals. Contrary to my better judgment I’ve been going along with choices that compromise my well-being.
    In my humble opinion these people do the devil’s work. As it says in Genesis, the snake is known for it’s subtlety!

    1. Sarah, reading what you wrote…..man oh man can I relate. It is so frustrating and infuriating to know the dynamics these creatures function under and to see how they get away with it, ALL THE WHILE, painting you as the crazy one, in their minds and others. The people Spathx hangs around wit have the bar set pretty low. These are his primary narcissistic supply sources. They require very little from him and demand and expect very little. He can stay happily in never never land.
      PLEASE! Let me have learned my lesson this time. I too have a family background of narcissistic crazys, not Spaths (except my bother) and not ” bad” or terrible people. Just self focused and weren’t able to be good parents because of it. So…..like a moth to a flame I have always found seflsh uncaring men. Well, I’ve never seen the likes of this one and he’s 48 years old! Unreal. I loved him the most I’ve loved anyone, or I thought I did. Now he’s just a stranger, an invader, a thief who stole what I gave. Sickening!!
      I do not EVER want to go through something like this again. I hoping with alcohol out of my life, my odds will improve greatly!!
      Sarah, your post really helped me feel validated. I could relate to so much of it. Different scenario but many things shared.

  14. “We just need to establish our own standards for the minimum character requirements we want to see in those with whom we have more meaningful relationships”.

    I like that and how very true. I’m also happy to state this is something I have done since my break with my own CD.

  15. I understand so much more now, I always knew that my partner was PA (passive aggressive) but I always thought there was more to it than that. He seems to go ahead and hurt people even though he knows he shouldn’t and doesn’t seem to care unless I call him out… I never in a million years thought I would be neurotic but that makes sense too, I feel terrible when I hurt someone I love or care about, I always gave in just because it was easier. Thank goodness I found myself again and I can stand on my own two feet – maybe the table is turning, I don’t know but I don’t care anymore if what I say hurts him and upsets him, don’t get me wrong I don’t say in a mean or degrading way, I just state the facts ie. “what you just said hurt my feelings for x, y or z, don’t do it again”. I’ve been hurt enough, I won’t stand for it anymore.

  16. I have just stumbled upon this site and conversation. I have lived for 31 years with what I believe is a CA husband. I have questioned and blamed myself for so many years, and just discovered this term about 6 months ago. I am very confused and scared to even be writing on here, but this has ticked off so many boxes for me. Thank you for this discussion, and I will be coming back to this. I am only able to read a bit at a time, because I get so teary.

  17. I have just stumbled on this site and discussion. I have lived for 31 years with what I now believe is a CA husband. I have only become acquainted with this term in the last 6 months. So many of the comments here tick off so many boxes. I am feeling very confused and scared, and yes, the guilt and shame are enormous. Thank you for this site…I know I will be coming here often, and hope to become stronger. This is so hard.

    1. yes it is hard grace! That is my experience too.

      but I’m becoming more and more sure that it is worth it.

      I’m still struggling too. I found this site a couple of months ago and have found it an invaluable support.

      try Dr Simon’s books. They are an eye opener! They are also good resource to keep coming back to – especially when you are doubting everything again after another ‘encounter’ with your CA.

      keep your sanity grace. keep your balance. keep in touch with this site. And read, read, read … it’s hard finding out stuff that is so mind blowing and changes your world view, turns everything upside down. But keep finding out the truth. it can be hard to hear and believe, but I’m finding it helps.

      rose

  18. Be careful sharing with the CA / narcissists that you’re onto him….. Don’t try to fix him, don’t read books about boundaries together, etc etc… There’s only one way: disengage…

    1. Spot on. If the paths know the game is up they can position themselves to your destruction socially, economically etc.Too many women get themselves killed that way. Would you purposefully stand in front of a harvester, for instance? Of course not. Think of paths the same way.Get your strategy sorted first, carefully and quietly.Don’t leave traces. Use cash, don’t make notes, use a public phone booth etc. You have to think and behave like a spy. Who knows you might even enjoy it. And be extremely careful who you trust. Get all your pieces in place and break free.

      1. Max-House….

        Whilst this may well be true, it can be just as difficult/destructive if the abusive CA is a woman – in my case my wife. Someone who I am consciously aware has no means of supporting herself materially, someone who has for such a long time perpetrated her emotional, verbal and physical abuse under the [dis]guise of ‘depression’. Someone who has very artfully played the victim yet behind closed doors is most certainly the aggressor. Not to mention she is a malingerer and feels that just because she bore our children, her husband is expected to be her willing servant with no help or support at all.

        After almost 30 years together, and through a lot of reading of this site and others similarly, I have finally called her ways. It is very painful right now. Although I am feeling a sense of huge relief and also grateful for having a small number of people who are proving very helpful and supportive.

        Blokes are – apparently – not supposed to be so ‘weak’ about these things! I’ve been told so many times….”just man up!!!!!”.

      2. I agree Max. I learned the hard way. And it is why I am working on a safe plan of escape. If i didn’t have kids I would vanish and assume a new identity. But my CA made sure he tangled us up good. We own our own business and while i was home raising our kids and going through the drama of my daughter going through treatment for Leukemia.she is now doing well. . He allowed my CA mother in law to get us so deeply in debt that i have to untangle that first. I am need a plan. My CA also fits the criteria as the nice guy that no one would ever expect to take out his wife .. My therapist agrees. And I will never forget the look on her face when she finally realized that she had been playing her all along. I used to sit in amazement but I knew that sooner or later the truth would come out.
        I was in denial for 25 year..
        Knew something wasn’t right
        Having come from a toxic family I had no background in what was minimally acceptable .
        I was easy pray.
        I think my CA went through a midlife crisis and started getting careless.
        I hadn’t put the pieces together but he is definitely a serial cheat ( my conscience wouldn’t ever accept he was cheating without solid evidence.. As long as there was doubt i couldn’t bring myself to accept circumstantial evidence)
        During this stage he got himself involved with 2 different women..
        Both disturbed.. Both wanted to be found out.
        Right before i figured it out I was at a point of seriously doubting my sanity.
        I became consumed with formulating ways to end my misery. I knew I would never do it ( i could never do that to my kids) but all the same I was giving serious thought to coming up with as solution .
        My husband didn’t just disable my car.. It was sabotaged.. Most of the lugs on my front wheels were hacked off. I was lucky. I didn’t put it together until years later that right around that time he purchased cemetery plots for us. I have always made clear I wanted to be cremated. I knew no one would believe me.. Everyone loves him.. Adores him.
        I was really scared. Not just for my life but for my sanity and my children.
        Then I discovered In Sheep’s Clothing. Every page was an OMG moment.
        It saved my life.
        I made the mistake of confronting my CA.
        MISTAKE!!! He became a monster. I had never seen this side of him. It was a wakeup call.
        I am very afraid so I pick and choose my battles. I know that trying to have rational conversations with tge purpose of making a difference is futile.
        I have accepted the bigger picture.

        And when it comes to the other people he engages in his ” abuse by proxy” i have accepted that yes some people are as sick as he but also that if it took me 25 years to see that he is a master manipulator that I cant expect others to be as naive or as neurotic as me. So i don’t hold it against them. I also realized that devoting all that ridiculous amount of time trying to make sense of everything was just my way of still trying to fix things.. And a huge waste of time.

  19. Following on from what I and Claire have said about needing to play our cards close to our chest – not sharing everything anymore with our CA – this is hard for me.

    feeling like I can’t trust my husband is a hard one to face.

    I realise I feel guilty about doing both these things. And now I see my husband recognising it and encouraging it!!

    I hate not trusting him: I hate not being able to trust him and I hate the niggling doubt I have at feeling that way – am I being nasty to not trust him?

    I’m amazed at how I can doubt myself and my perceptions – and now I realise my husband uses that to fan the flames of doubt in me and produce a guilt trip!

    Wow! what a vicious cycle! I’m getting out of that. I need to trust my perceptions, keep reading this site and similar and the books and know what is true, what is healthy, what is reasonable etc.

    not easy after so many years of being hoodwinked.

    I’ve been thinking about why I stay in this marriage.

    Partly because I believe things can get better – perhaps it’s the slot machine syndrome? But I recognise now when he’s giving ‘cherries’ and I wait to see if it lasts before taking it as proof that things are changing permanently for the better!

    I realise I get financial and practical security by staying with my husband.

    But I get emotional and mental insecurity – trauma – by staying.

    that is an unsettling thought. I need to decide which is most important to me. I know really, but never having survived practically or financially on my own, I doubt my ability. Recovering from 8 years CFS where I got so bad I had a mobility scooter and couldn’t do anything in the house or social stuff, just get dressed (sometimes showered) and put ready meals in the oven, I have a way to go before being fully fit and believing I can earn my own living. The benefits system don’t recognise CFS in UK so I can’t claim anything. It is seriously scary.

    But … as I get more assertive, more emotionally healed and independant, so my health improves. That proves something very important to me. I MUST stay independant emotionally and continue to be assertive and setting boundaries so I can keep my health and improve even more. I can walk 3 miles now!

    I want to stay on this learning curve, however traumatic and painful it is sometimes.

    Yesterday I suddenly had a wave of anger, sadness, fear and loathing come over me. It happens without notice every now and then. It’s hard to know what to do. I just want to run away. I told my husband factually and very briefly what I was feeling and that I knew it would pass, but I wanted him to know to explain why I will be keeping my distance for a while. Then I left his presence before he could get back at me. (I shared this so he had no reason to say I was being cold for no reason. It remains to be seen whether he uses this against me in the future).

    Amazingly, I recovered almost immediately! That horrible wave of revulsion and anger just left.

    I wonder what was happening? In the past I’ve held onto it or tried ringing someone to talk it through. This time it feels like I gave (or perhaps shared?) it to the one who caused it and so it left. I don’t know if that is what was happening. I hope I didn’t just ‘dump’ on him. He certainly was very badly affected emotionally and physically by what I said.

    I wonder if I was dumping on him or if I was doing something healthy? It seemed to help me but harm him. (I know he uses his emotional distress to try to get at me but I don’t let it work anymore.)

    I feel fine again today.

    Dr Simon, do you have any insight here? When are we dumping on someone and when are we sharing in a healthy way?

    Rose

    1. Can’t get too deeply into the dynamics here but I should probably emphasize two principles: Honesty has the greatest power, especially when we’re being honest with ourselves about our fears, intentions, choices, etc. And emotional independence is also a most valuable quality. Most relationships begin in mutual need instead of mutual regard and consent, so a wake-up period with disillusionment is inevitable. When two people who simply don’t need each other but nonetheless positively respect and regard one another and freely choose to commit to each other (for mutual personal growth) and support one another through the walk of life, it’s beautiful. When two people are together for other reasons, emotional turmoil is inevitable.

      You always know when you’re headed for an unhealthy place when the focus of your attention or your energy is directed externally. The red flags of that often sound like: “I know this made him feel blah, blah, blah,” or “I fear she want’s me to ….” Knowing yourself, honestly and lovingly, and taking charge of your own character development – that’s always the key.

      1. Dr. Simon, Im seeing now, in retrospect……the nature of their covert tactics and toxic crazy making behavior puts the victim in the position OF focusing outside themselves on the CA!!! I didn’t see that that is what was happening but it is exactly what happened. Confusion. When you see something that you can’t identify, what do you do? You keep looking at it. People don’t see a UFO (or whatever! LOL) and say. “hm…..I have no idea WHAT that is! Cupcake anyone?” They lock onto it…….I honestly just was so confused because this UFO kept changing from a UFO to an airplane and back to a UFO……..
        When I think back and picture me in the relationshi*, I see either a look of sadness, or a look of puzzlement or a look of longing and love. Horrible how much I really wanted to love him.

        1. The CA creates the feeling if doubt and insecurity in the victim and a very deep and hard to recognize level. then the neurotic tendencies in the victim do the work for the CA. It’s diabolical……..and SO pathetic.

          1. oh my gosh…..
            awesomely put. still shocked there are others out there like me. I finally do not feel so alone. That is priceless.

          1. It is the key, and I SEE that NOW but again, I see that the most effective element in them being able to do what they do is the victim’s ignorance and naiveté. Having said that, knowing what the consequences can be of NOT keeping your focus on your yourself, your power, your truth is always going to be potential disaster!
            In my situation…………it was such a mix! Sometimes I felt very happy, very content, very hopeful……..I always was in the position of deciding if I should throw the baby out with the bathwater or not. AND he “”gave”” just enough to keep me choosing to not throw it away. Just enough to squeak by. I see now how much I was “settling for”. How far below grade he was in the way of meeting my needs and desires no matter how much lip service he put towards his empty declarations of love and “forever”.

          2. Quite honestly, every boundary I set was like ringing the dinner bell. I would try to adhere but got so confused by his pseudo love declarations, I just didn’t know which end was up. And, I truly loved him Dr. Simon…..I was hooked and invested so naturally I wanted to believe him. he knew that I loved him…..KNEW it, but he also knew that I had no idea who he was or what he was doing/ going to do.
            Even since the big break up he has declared his love for me and said the most wonderful things about me………..but yet a “friend” of his told me that he’s been playing a game with me for a long time……
            It’s bitter sweet……….I know my love for him was real and could have been so much more if I would have known and FELT like I was safe. To have those feelings for an impostor and to know that it meant nothing real to him, to imagine that I literally had a complete stranger in my home and in my heart……..it’s mind twisting and heart crushing.
            I’ve never in my life felt like I might not be able to make it through something and I’ve been through all kinds of things. Nothing has made me question my ability to go on before. I did try to kill myself once a long time ago but I was on some meds that really messed me up and it was very impulsive. This damage is so much different. like it has gone systemic.
            I think the hardest part of it is that there are so few people who really understand. It’s so easy for them to paint you as the crazy one because it is so damaging……I’m barely able to keep myself together and have certainly said some things i wish I wouldn’t have and not said some things I wish I would have.
            I do know this, it has super charged my compassion for others and i hope I can keep that alive in the future when I hear of someone else’s suffering that I don’t understand.
            So, there is a woman who sends out relationship news letters, Rory Raye. She sent out this one that I will paraphrase. She tells you to make a list of all the qualities you desire in the perfect mate, write them all down and be as honest and clear as possible. Now, take the list and throw it away because all that really matters is that you feel safe and KNOW that you are loved. I felt neither with him. There was a carrot in front of the horse(me) but it was always out of reach.

          3. It is POINTLESS to even speak in a way that references them! It’s ME! I feel uncomfortable, unloved, blown off, sabotaged, unimportant, unheard, disrespected, expendable, and I do not want to be in a relationship in which I feel that way. If someone really loved you, first of all i just don’t think you would feel that way and secondly, I would think they would make a sincere effort to meet you in the middle and alleviate what they could.
            A CA however, or at least some of them, PREY on a persons human need and desire for love, companionship, touch………..it’s so twisted. I KNOW that I was hooked, like nerve toxin, on laying in his arms and being held. As I’ve said it’s like crack cocaine to me because I had so little of it as a baby/ child. It’s also very soothing to my mind.

          4. Like a spider web. You know you are neither safe nor loved, yet you are too enmeshed and confused to jump out of the pot of hot water. Ugh. Me too, girl, me too.

          5. Vera, Thank you for understanding. It’s truly something I still can’t believe. That says something right there about why I stayed……..It’s over 8 months that we officially broke up, 6 months since I’ve been in his company, almost 4 months NC and I STILL can’t wrap my head around it!
            I actually wrote a poem about the Spider and the Fly but I got so carried away with it that I couldn’t stop writing verses and now I’ve got pages and pages and little note after little note! I was “obsessed” with it for about a month and ended up with so much I can’t wrap my head around putting it together into an actual poem! Some of it I really loved too!
            Sympathy {{Hugs}} to you Vera

      2. I’m afraid I’m none the wiser Dr Simon, I just don’t ‘get’ what you’re explaining.

        I think part of the problem is I’ve got some conflict between 2 different ideas about how to have healthy relationships:

        1. Keep communication going. I was taught while in therapy that if you want someone to know what you are thinking, feeling, need or want, then you have to tell them. Don’t leave people to read your mind (as happened in my birth family) and then get umpy because they can’t. (I’m now beginning to wonder if is only a useful ‘tool for life’ when dealing with neurotics?)

        2. Don’t give too much away to a CA. It just gives them more ammunition to hurt you.

        And now this new (to me) idea of staying focussed on yourself. I’m having trouble seeing how to apply that without becoming self obssessed, losing empathy or clamming up and not sharing with those I’m in relationship with.

        It seems like a very intricate dance we’re needing to learn!

        How to share
        When to share
        What to share
        Why we’re sharing

        I obviously have a lot more to learn here!

        Rose

        1. Rose, I think that when you “keep the focus on you”….it’s YOU that you can change and advocate for. In a way, it doesn’t matter what he is……are you happy? Are you getting your needs met? Do you feel content, safe, respected, loved by him? If you do not, are you ok with that? When you cut it all down to size,,,,,,,it’s a scale……good on one side, bad on the other. does the good out weigh the bad? can you accept and live with the things you don’t like? do you feel respected and important enough to him that he would work towards bringing the scales more to the middle? So by focusing on YOU….you are really wanting to get honest with yourself and do a serious evaluation of your feelings and needs in the relationship and see if you are willing and able to settle for what you have with him right now. If you are not willing to settle and he shows little sincere interest and/ or ability to honor your wants, needs and desires in the relationship by doing the hard work on himself……….well, that is not a desirable place to be I’m afraid.
          In my situation, I was in a bad place no doubt but the thing that really got me stuck was the manipulative promises and declarations of love that never bore any fruit.I did not see that it was a game to him or a vendetta or whatever it was…….it wasn’t love.

  20. I am one of 2 siblings, both girls. My sister can be a good person, but then, at some point, when she thinks I have offended her in some minor way, she will try to totally destroy my self-esteem with full out attacks on everything about me. I am sure I do offend her sometimes, but I would never deliberately try to hurt her. I am pretty sure that many times she constructs major offences out of something very small, or even non-existent as an excuse to decimate me. If someone heard her description of me when she is in that mode, they would think I was a completely vile person. It is like a ‘leave no survivors’ kind of attack. When I say something about these ferocious attacks once things have calmed down, she gets mad at me again, and just reacts with insults and sarcasm and tries to shame me even more for daring to suggest that she may have done anything wrong or out of proportion to the real or imagined insult, then expects me to apologize for the original offence. I never receive an apology or an acknowledgment that she is way out of line. I know that I wouldn’t intentionally hurt her, but she does not have any concerns about how I might feel after these things. She makes it clear that she thinks I deserve it. Sometimes I think it comes from pain, but she is not a dumb person, and I know she knows how cruel these things are. The thing is, she believes that i really am these things when she gets mad at me, so then she thinks she is justified in her behavior. I am the problem, not her. Sometimes I can let it roll off my back a bit, but overall, I find it very, very painful. I end up feeling guilty, shocked, and hurt. Then I question myself endlessly for days wondering if I really am those things or if she is just projecting her issues on me. I am not perfect, I do make mistakes in what I say sometimes, and if I am really hurt, I may get a little snarky – but I do not attack everything about a person. To me, that is not about trying to resolve a problem, it is plain and simply trying to hurt or destroy someone. I never understand how she thinks we are supposed to manage to be good friends after these things. And I am starting to wonder how much I want to be vulnerable to someone who thinks it is ok to deliberately do that to someone else. I would not take this kind of garbage from anyone else, but it is family, and it is not always easy to stay disconnected, even when you want to. Events come up, etc. etc. Right now I am keeping contact to a bare minimum to try to get my balance back. I shouldn’t have to be struggling to get my balance back. These things are hard. I can’t do anything to change her. I would willingly apologize for hurting her(when it is actually real) if she would just nicely make me aware that I have hurt her, but being attacked like this just leaves me thinking, “I don’t owe you anything”. If she would meet me halfway, and acknowledge her role in these things, we could work it out, but I am getting very tired of being the devil and being torn apart every time she wants to get her rage out. We are family, and so I have to try not to upset the apple cart too much, so for now, I am just trying to keep contact to a minimum, be polite, take care of myself. So the cycle continues.

    1. Sabrina, when you just let things she does or says just “roll off your back”, you are doing neither you, her or your relationship any good at all. It’s so hard to really know the situation on these blog sites because so much of it can be subjective on both sides!
      BUT, it’s obviously not rolling off your back and is something that bothers you. Dr. Simon will probably have some insight! Good luck!

      1. Hi Puddle,
        Thanks for your response. I know it isn’t good to let it roll off my back really, but I don’t like yelling and confrontations. I think it is a lot better to try to talk nicely to each other. But when I do try to talk to her about in a gently conciliatory way once things have calmed down, I just get attacked again. Very occasionally it goes ok, but pretty rarely. One thing I don’t do though, is tear someone up and then think they should apologize and just let it go. There is a limit to how much you can let this stuff go before it starts affecting your relationship.

        1. Sabrina, I hear what you are saying…….man oh man……… I don’t know. Basically don’t we have to protect ourselves? If it’s not healthy, it’s not healthy. ” I love you, your my sister, and if this is the way our interactions are going to be, I won’t participate anymore. To participate is to condone and I will not condone something that is destructive to both of us any longer.”

          Now this is when Spathtardx would throw me a bone and say something like “we are a team and we will fight for this together”. I would swallow the bait and get jerked out of the water……….again. I should have asked for specifics…..like. “so what is your idea of how to fight for this”? or, That sounds wonderful Honey, How do you think we can do that”? ……..life just kept moving and the enevitable next fight got closer snd closer. Quite honestly, I believe the fights were set ups. I have come to believe that he manufactured the conditions to bring on the fights. I was pretty predictable. I’m stupid like that, just can’t think on my feet.

          1. You’re a team? Lie. We’ll fight together? It’s not a fight when it’s a healthy relationship. I can remember when I first started to see thing for what they really are. When my various paths started using these lines I mentally started substituting the word “banana”. Now read your statement over. His part would sound like this… “we are a banana and we will banana for this together”. See? Now his words are as ridiculous sounding as they truly are in reality. If you use this technique, it will quickly disempower his manipulative hold on you and you can laugh internally instead of get all upset. Doesn’t take long then for you to be over it.

          2. That’s a great mental tactic there, Max House. Some nonsense just isn’t all-out nonsense, but something that barely passes for something valid unless one knows what to look for.

          3. Max House, not to diminish the seriousness of this whole topic but your idea about the word banana just made me laugh. That’s a great idea. I would like to say something after reading your great comments……….they are all right on target and I can see that clearly >>>NOW<<<. During the involvement however I could not. I think this is the hardest part for me to explain to ANYone……..how seriously clueless I was DURING my involvement with Spathtard. A combination of factors at play….I did not know there were people like him in this world, certainly not in MY world. I'm 54 and have never been through something like this EVER, and it wasn't for lack of opportunity. I'm "fortunate" that I had never been targeted before this, it's somewhat of a miracle.
            The first night I was with him he showed signs and repeatedly there after, but I did not know and could not conceive that the signs meant he was the twisted monster I now and almost positive he is. No way did I know and I didn't know one person who had known him prior to us getting together. I have since contacted one of his x'wives sister and she very subtly let me know that he has serious problems. I wish I could speak to her again with the knowledge I have now.

          4. Max House, yeah………his idea of “fighting for this together because we are a banana” was to ignore my needs, blow smoke up my a** and speak to me in a demeaning way if I wanted answers to questions about why long standing issues were issues…..still. I was lectured like a child about how the timing of my question, wanting to know if he thought of me as a friend or buddy rather than a mate and lover because he was literally showing complete disinterest in the sexual and romantic area of the relationshi*, at least towards my enjoyment of it. So I got talked down to and scolded for asking him AGAIN, if he just thought of me as a buddy, you know….not romantically, on Christmas Eve. I’ve tried to put myself in his position and what I came up with is that I would have grabbed him, pulled him on my lap and said “of COURSE I don’t think of you like a buddy……I’m crazy about you”! And kissed him passionately or drug him into the bedroom. But he lectured me because I ruined HIS Christmas Eve and then after a small fight, stormed out of the house home to his mother’s. I then called him to offer to bring the breakfast casserole over and leave it on the front porch at his mother’s house (a mile down the street). he had made it earlier for us to eat at his mother’s house Christmas morning. He told me that if I set one foot on his property (his mother’s property, btw) he would call the sherif and have me arrested for trespassing. I then told him that I could leave it at the end of my driveway and he could come pick it up, for God’sake! He THEN told me I could choke to death on the f’ing casserole for all he cared!
            I’m thinking there is no reason to substitute the word banana in any of that as I’m thinking that was more the real way he felt about me.
            Comments?

  21. Dr. Simon, I recently got involved in an ordeal on another website. I was being accused of stirring up drama by mentioning something that I guess was breaking some unspoken rule on the web site. I had mentioned it in regards to a concern I had about my medication and about three or four people basically ganged up on me and put words in my mouth and meanings behind my words that I absolutely KNOW were not accurate. I was told that I needed to issue an apology that would be considered by the moderator of the site, which I did but was told that it was a non apology and therefore inadequate. I told the moderator that I can not and will not apologize for intentions that I know i didn’t have and that I certainly did not intend to stir up drama. She said, “how could you NOT know”! That is a question that I can’t even answer. I didn’t mean any of it to start the ruckus it started. I literally was in shock. I’ve thought about this for a couple weeks now and just can’t come up with something that makes any sense. I know what the truth is. I know why I said what I said and I can’t say why I didn’t think of it in the same way as apparently other people did.
    It’s a very odd feeling. A somewhat scary realization…….to be falsely accused. I feel completely helpless. It’s one of those things that I can’t even put it all into words but it was clear to me that there was absolutely no way i was going to be believed and that it was futile to keep trying to be believed.
    So, this experience is almost the opposite of what this article is about. I can’t even imagine, or maybe now I can, what it must be like to be falsely incarcerated for a crime you didn’t commit.
    Just wondering if you have any insights on the subject because I’ve been in similar situations before on the internet and in email exchanges. It’s like these types of communications can be so misinterpreted because there is no visual or auditory feedback. I have been in both positions before…..I misunderstood them and or they misunderstood me. Nothing quite like this but similar.

    1. It sounds like a) yes, things can get blown out of proportion in email because there is no voice inflection and b) you stumbled into a vortex managed by a CA. CAs love to sick their wolfpack (underlings) on people. CAs love to create distortions as well.

      Don’t blame yourself. Just try not to apologize using their “frame” the next time.

    2. I can only guess at this point about the likely hyper-concern probably operating in this situation, because whenever medications are discussed blog operators always face the possibilities of lawsuits and other adverse consequences. I’m very fortunate in this forum to have folks making comments of such high caliber, but even so, I do occasionally have to do some editing to help protect the integrity of the blog.

      1. Dr. Simon, I hope that if I ever do or say something inappropriate here, you will contact me aside and let me know. The thing that is frustrating for me is that I really can be fairly clueless sometimes. I just don’t get it and I do have an impulsivity problem. Usually I can see things fairly well backwards if someone explains something to me but this particular situation, even backwards I just don’t see my intentions being as I was accused of.
        I want to learn and I hope I can learn but it takes someone telling me something (explaining)……what I did wrong and why it’s wrong.
        I’ve always thought it was silly, when you get directions to something or someone is explaining something, that when they tell you to do or not do something, they don’t tell you WHY!

  22. Hi Dr. Simon. I am really grateful for your work. I am in a situation of emotional abuse for over 10 years.It’s like a on/off relationship.I have read a lot last year on Narcissistic characters. Your description of Covert Aggressor completes my education.
    I am in a situation where I want to survive and I am taking actions to recover not only financially but emotionally. I really loved the man, whom always find excuses to disengage himself. I was accused of selfish, looking for profit in the relationship, not being a good mother, at the same time I am being tell that I am the one he cannot leave without. Why I asked, response I have so many qualities, beautiful, irresistible and so one.
    I am happy to be where I am now. The nice words and the worst insults are one the same page, for me they are not different. I don’t hide myself, I am overtly disengage with no demands for intimacy, for family activities, for any kind of attention, for plan for the futur. And furthermore I feel free in my mind because, even for my desire to have other kid, I don’t need his approval neither his participation. I’ve lost a baby years ago, I did not have proper treatments, we agreed together to have another kid years ago. But after sexual activities with this – my husband – I always need to seek treatments. So then no more treatments, that is easy – no more sexual activity with him for almost a year now.
    Afters years of carrying a kind of sadness, I was like a living dead or a dead alive. After I am being pushed too far, I realized that something needed to change: Me. So after the love, the hate, I am in a normal state with no “love” nor hate for this person.
    But I still need of knowledge to protect myself and becoming a person free of those past discomfort and free of expectations. I need to have the right weapons for the war that I need to continue for a little while.
    So my question is: Do you organize seminars, retreats. I want to go ahead in my search for freedom and I believe that you can really help me. By freedom I mean not only living far away from that person, not only being emotionally disengage – this is done – I need to be open to live my emotions and open to love again.
    Thank you for your response

    1. All the best to you, Cher in your efforts to empower yourself. And hopefully my books and online article will provide you with some of the resources you need to accomplish your aim.

      Information on my upcoming round of workshops and seminars will be posted on a special page on this site as soon as the locations and dates are fixed. I had hoped that the first would have been this fall in the NYC area, but alas the planning and securing of suitable venues is going much slower than I’d planned. Still, watch for the information, which we’ll begin posting in the next couple of months. And if you email me via the back channel (i.e. the “contact dr. simon feature) the area of the country where you reside, I’ll put you on the notify list for a venue near you.

      1. Hi Dr. Simon, I am looking forward to hearing your announcement of venues.
        I have been trying to generate interest and reception to a possible seminar for you in my area. It has been interesting. I have found that the psychologists, psychiatrists, behavioralists and social workers who I know through my profession (I am in health care) do not know what to make of my suggestion to possibly have you come to their/my institution as a speaker. This surprised me at first, but doesn’t any more. There are 2 identifiable reactions:
        1) People with behavior problems are simply hurting underneath it all and this construct and approach is simply incorrect 🙂
        OR
        2) I get it. I totally agree with this perspective. It would be great. But I’m just a little guy in a big institution. I don’t know how to make something like that happen.
        I then turned to several abuse-survivor groups in the area. I am not part of these groups so these were “cold calls”. There was great interest, however, a lack of funding and organizational support to move anything forward. These are mostly volunteer or financially strapped county-run organizations, so I understand the excitement but then the insurmountable hurdles.
        Anyway, I have not given up hope- I talk frequently about your work and “promote” it as best I can as another little guy (well, gal) in a big institution. I am fortunate in that I have education funds through work that will likely allow me to travel to a destination where you may speak, and I am so grateful for that!

        There is still something I and all of us can do. I am still trying to direct folks to the “contact me” site and know that I am putting forth as much effort as possible into getting your message out in other ways- somewhat vocally, but mostly in my actions. When I gently correct the poorly-behaved (There have been a couple of low-level garden variety bullies in my circles lately), and someone asks, “What the heck did you just do and where did you learn how to do that?” I excitedly mention your name/work and then discover a little buzz going on- first time readers and a bunch of “ah-ha’s” all around me. It’s fantastic.

        1. Thanks, so much, Linda, for your comments and encouragement. In addition to the first reaction you describe, I might suggest that an additional factor influencing that possible reaction is the fact that it’s been over 15 years since the last round of workshops I did, which were primarily for the professional audience, and longer still since the publicity blitz that initially accompanied the release of “In Sheep’s Clothing,” so immediate name recognition and the “hotness” of the topic are also likely issues. And while it’s been nearly overwhelming to have had such incredible response from the general public to my work, especially in recent years, finding just the right opportunities and sponsoring entities to offer seminars at an affordable price for general audience attendees (as opposed to just professionals who are often used to paying premium prices for continuing education credits) is much more challenging than crafting workshops for professionals. So, any and all efforts by you or others are most appreciated. All that said, rest assured the seminars will happen, even if it turns out that they have to be independently sponsored and promoted and held in out of the ordinary facilities. It’s just taking much more time and effort than I initially anticipated.

          1. Thank you for all the effort. You have my commitment to my continued grassroots effort ..and I know many people who would be happy to come to a parking lot on a cold rainy day to experience one of your workshops. Good luck and keep us posted!

  23. My spouse and I have been dealing with what overwhelmingly appears to us to be a CA personality for years in an estate issue. The process has been more than painful dealing with this CA, who appears to derive pleasure in holding us hostage and has managed time and time again to get by with the antics because the court is under the illusion we are dealing with a reasonable, albeit reluctant, person. We feel like we have been crying to deaf ears for help to bring this to an end for so long — we are just exhausted. People don’t understand what life suckers CAs are and that their ultimate goal is to dominate, control and win – no matter the cost. Trying to get out of a CA’s clutches is very hard. Any ideas on how we can get this estate to the end? Every step forward is an epic battle. Once we can get this done, we can kick this person out of our life, but for now we are stuck with them.

    1. Sounds like you need to gather evidence. I can’t exactly say how, but perhaps you could start from having a camera hidden somewhere.

      I also recommend searching the Net for tips to help you take care of your mental health, which I can tell is tremendously important in times like that. I hope this helps you to a good start.

  24. Having lived in an abusive relationship for 10 years, you have just described my ex-husband to a “T”. I will be printing this out for the attorney. Now, how do I make him go away, permanently?

    1. From Abuse To, Read the article on 180rule.com called Grey Rock. Basically don’t interact with him at all or feed his need for anything, drama, attention, etc. BE BORING BORING BORING. If you HAVE to speak to him for some reason, talk about things like the leaky toilet and your recurrent yeast infection or whatever disinterests him most, be creative! And have no contact with him what soever if possible. What ever you do do not let him know he has pushed your buttons even if he has. I failed miserably in this department. I’m easy like that. But i have had no contact with him for the most part except for a couple f’you emails when I found out some things that were totally contrary to what he had portrayed.
      It’s clear to me now that I don’t love him and never did because he’s the biggest fake and most pathetic excuse for a manboy I have ever encountered. Disgusting vile pathetic rapist parasitic predator and no more. Let him be someone else’s nightmare like he has been his whole life.

  25. Dr. Simon, just want to thank you and add my voice to the hundreds of people who have been encouraged and empowered by the important work you’re doing. For many years I lived with a covert aggressive personality and struggled to understand his behavior and that of his equally aggressive family. Like many people you describe I knew instinctively that something was seriously wrong but did not have the vocabulary to name it. We saw a few counselors in the years before your work was published and not even the single competent counselor among them was able to call out the intentional and willfully exploitive behavior for what it was. As a person who had not experienced the the aggression you describe in my own family, being in a relationship with a covert aggressive was a shocking and confusing experience. Those of us who are not manipulative by nature are less likely to recognize it in others until much harm has been done. Your work has given me the ability to see these people–the former partner as well as his family and friends–for what they are. Understanding that they never really had anything to offer makes it possible to move forward and start making the life I once planned. I will share your blog and work with those I think may be helped by your words and look forward to your new posts. Thanks again for all you do.

    1. Selkie, You really put that comment well on target. No Vocabulary adequate. Like I’ve said, a whole new “dictionary” needs to be written for one of these experiences……..I’ve suggested the Spathsaurus .

    2. Thank you so much for the kind words, Selkie. And thanks also for sharing and for helping to spread the word. This mission of mine has become one heck of a group project, and I am most appreciative.

    3. Very well expressed Selkie. Pretty well sums up the matter for me. Made so much worse when one is completely unaware and, as you say, does not come from that kind of [family] background.

  26. Interesting book? It’s about men who are abusers. I have not read it but just read a “review” on another site.
    The Batterer by Dr. Donald G. Dutton

  27. Reading this is like a sudden revelation – now the toxic atmosphere with the mother-in-law (who treats her SECOND husband as a dishrag/doormat, the first one showed her the door long ago) is suddenly apparent and rather evident. No wonder she was/is, in my opinion, impossible to get along with – whether you make the effort or not.

  28. Ten years ago a male friend that I had known briefly for about 2 years came to stay with me at my invite until he could get on his feet. Two years into his stay I began to realize that he would never get on his feet and that he needed help. He showed no sign of doing for himself, not even getting a job. He was helpful around the house, polite and reasonable company so I just let him stay. GIANT MISTAKE! The longer he has stayed the worse things get. We have daily disagreements over things that he does and does not do. We are not compatible at all and 6 years ago I started to try and help him move on his own. Nothing works. If I put him out he has no where to go and that is what has kept him here this long. He has taken over my house and my life and I really hope to get him gone this year. I have planned to move and not let him come with me. He does not cooperate in getting his own place and I have made it clear that I don’t want him here any longer. I filled out apt. apps and have found him at least two places so that he would not be homeless but he calls them behind my back and tells them to take him off the list. He is secretive and does not want to pay his own way although he has some money. Any disagreement we have is immediately turned on me. He dismisses any request I make as “control freak” I am getting to the place I hate to wake up in the morning and when I leave I don’t want to come back. I know this is my fault. I should have never tried to help him knowing him no better than I did. He is not a bad person just one I don’t want to live with. Help.

  29. I have experienced this a few times, the last time was probably the most severe case. I actually analyzed it well given the hard work I did on myself regarding setting boundaries and calling the abuse out. The only issue I had this time around was I was told to be tactful, in a way that is cooperative because I was being projected with hurtful comments aimed to knock me down. Every time I spoke about this person being a ‘manipulative imposter’ only a few believed me. I knew many would be blind to his tactics after all they have been playing this ‘game’ all their life and perfecting it day by day.
    I worked hard to keep myself strong, tried to give little away but it seems some of my colleagues had eventually turned on me. The cost of being successful. I do not look at it negatively after all I realise people do not change. All I can say is that they spend a lot of their free time researching and planning which makes me think how they spend most of their lives? I kept my profile low and had a small social circle and when faced with their attempts I closed the gap even more, making it harder for them to get to me, piled on the pressure. You see I was not dealing with just one Psychopath, I was being dealt with several by this I mean reaching double figures, so you can imagine how worse it got. Luckily, I knew I had to walk away which I did and I saw how suddenly the dynamics changed, the real person had shown himself. Insecure. Needy. Emotionally void. Lust for power. I only heard the comments and it was enough for me, I knew then and I always knew, there was nothing wrong with me.
    What is more, is that I can only emphasize the need for liberation and emotional freedom. Do whatever you can to get out of the cycle. Listen only to your inner voice.
    Therapy is good for you, I do not know why people negatively stereotype it. You do not have to go their if you have a problem, it is a nice way of being in a good environment with someone you know will maintain levels of privacy and confidentiality. It was through therapy and my continued quest of self improvement and growth that I was able to detect the inconsistencies and my knowledge of human psychology.

    From all the comments I read above, I can state that most of which that is true, psychopaths have no inkling to what a healthy relationship is and they will never experience one. Instead of slating them, PITY them for they will always be stuck in a stage where they will never grow or change or experience a good fulfilling life.

    1. Beautifully expressed. I have invested far too much time attempting to convince the person in my life of [what I felt were] her destructive ways. I cannot express how liberated I felt once I discovered she actually had zero interest in anything other than herself, controlling what she wanted….first and foremost. Nothing could ever be as important than getting what she wanted…..above anything and everything.

      I am part way through the same process as yourself, keeping myself strong, finding happiness for myself. At times it is a struggle but I want and need to survive. I am taking steps forwards, will occasionally slip back but I’m feeling more free and fulfilled than I have ever felt.

      1. Danny, do you have children with this person. Sorry if this is a repeat question……the stories blend together at times. And, is it your story that involved her mother as well?
        I happy for you that you sound like you are on the path to recovery. Both you and Salma above. I agree Salma, that was a very well expressed post and I wish you well.

        1. Hi Puddle. Yes, that is right…..4 children, all have elected (totally of their own volition) to stay with me – 2 of which have no contact with their mum whatsoever. In case you’re thinking, I am not proud of this at all. I would much rather we all be together supporting the needs of our children as they develop. However mum is away with the fairies having contrived all sorts of accusations against me…..as a planned/manipulated justification……in preference to facing her own demons. Yes, it has been a struggle keeping things in order but my kids deserve it. That is my commission.

          1. Hi Danny……I read what you wrote and it jogged something in me…..like, WHY??? WHY does it have to be that way? Some things just seem so needlessly sad and pointlessly unfair! I’m sorry your family is split and it sounds like your kids are fortunate to have a father who is towing the line for them. AND sometimes it just seems almost unbelievable to me that a person can be SO off base, SO off the mark and still be able to justify their twisted beliefs! Why????

    2. Salma, One thing I would like to say is that personally, I can see why a lot of people speak of therapy in the way they do. It has been a very long drawn out process for me to find a therapist who understood the nature of what his disorder is. In the absence of that understanding much damage can be done to a victim who is already struggling with the damage these monsters have bestowed on them. At the time I needed it most I was trying to get help from people who invalidated what had happened by way of their lack of understanding of these people and what really motivates and powers them.
      Secondly, I will never pity the person I was involved with. He is making choices in his life, just like everyone else in this world and his choices only concern him. He could choose to take concrete steps to change his attitudes but he CHOOSES not to. He is happy as a 48 year old living like an adolescent in his Mommy’s basement, taking what he can get from her and anyone else who is too naive to know what his real intentions are. I would never pity him any more than I would pity a man who broke into my home and raped me.
      He may never be able to change entirely but he could, at age 48, stop doing hurtful things to other people just to satisfy his own twisted needs. A LIE and a deception is a choice and they certainly are capable of choices, I’ve seen him make many.

  30. So, I have read all these comments about husbands fitting the mold of a CA, but I am currently having a problem with my mother-in-law. She is the picture perfect example of a CA. And while I feel that she has the entire family fooled, my husband is such a happy-go-lucky man that her moods and aggression don’t bother him, because (as he puts it) “she has always been that way and always will be, she’s never going to change so why even worry about it”. I am so envious that he can take this attitude, all the while I am so crushed that this is the only mother he has known all of his life and he accepts it, while I have NEVER dealt with someone of this caliber. The only difference is, instead of “preying” on what seems to be the weakest person and making them a victim, she goes after the one that questions her, the one that tries to make her accountable for her actions, and the one who stands up to her, ME! The only problem is, she tries to ruin my accountability with the entire rest of the family because she has all of them fooled. Now, I have met people in town who after asking who I married, begin to tell me that his mom is CRAZY, so obviously there are a lot of people in town who know this as this has happened SEVERAL times. I have distanced myself from her, but she continues to get to me by calling my husband and simply having him relay messages. Now, these messages sometimes come in the form and appear to be just a simple message but there is always something in them whether it be the way she says it or words it that is aggressive. I don’t want to put my husband in the middle of this but she seems to keep doing so, and causing problems in our marriage. Mind you, we are newlyweds and I know this will only get worse. He says he is done with her but yet still answers when she calls, allowing her to step her fat, CA foot in the door! My husband is an amazing man, and he stands by my side, but at times I feel that standing by me is not enough and he needs to stand in front of me and shield not only me, but my child as well from her tactics. Any help on aiding in this task?

    1. Exhausted, I’m sorry you are struggling with this and i can understand how frustrating it is. FROM WHAT I’VE HEARD, and this is just an opinion, Your husband IS the one who should deal with her and the one who should step in front of you. YOU should be above her on his priority list without a doubt. He does not have to turn his back on her or be disrespectful to her in any way but he needs to set limits for her interactions with both of you, clear and absolute limits. I don’t buy into the “but she’s my mother” line of thinking that some men hide behind when dealing with their mother’s as an adult. This is his new life and family, one that he will be spending the rest of his life with hopefully. Anything or one that threatens the solidity of that needs to be dealt with swiftly clearly.
      Again, please don’t interpret what I’m saying as being disrespectful.
      This will continue to be a problem, I can promise that, until the two of you come together and make a decision together that this situation needs to be handled in short order.
      Talk to him, tell him your feelings and how it is affecting you and what you want and need to happen. If you are clear about where you stand and what you need and are fair about it then this talk should go smoother.
      Good luck and keep us posted.

    2. Exhausted, he accepts it because his relationship with her is not the same as YOUR relationship with her. Apples and oranges. In my opinion I would not continue this course of action:
      “she goes after the one that questions her, the one that tries to make her accountable for her actions, and the one who stands up to her, ME!” because I think it will just continue the problem. Like I said before, you and your husband need to form a united front in the best interest of your relationship and family.
      🙂

    3. My CA Husband and his CA mother have a similar relationship. He is aware she reeks havoc in our lives, she has done the most outrageous things ..forged signatures. Took loans on his life insurance. Took out a loan of $50,000. Against her house Without us knowing To pay bills for us while my daughter was inthe hospital. She controls the money at our business. She is either stealing or hiding it for him.
      He knows she is toxic & destructive . But makes excuses for her.. She is just old, just trying to help, if she goes home she will die..

      Seriously.. If your partner doesn’t establish the boundaries now he is never going to. Protect yourself.

      1. Be patient. Be a good person. Other people will see. Be a grey rock. Ignore her as much as possible. If you sit by the river long enough the bodies of your enemies will float by. Remove yourself from the triangle and force your husband to relate to her one on one. He will get sick of it because he secretly hates her weather he admits it or not. Whenever she comes around leave. Cut off her oxygen and light. Practice a poker face. Don’t let her get a reaction. Befriend her enemies. Turn up the heat on him. Pretend to be a victim and sing like a canary . Be a warrior.

  31. I am extremely interested do to the fact I have a fiancee that’s narcissistic and covertly aggressive and I want to manipulate his behavior to gain back personal empowerment and deflate his big head please email me if you manage to have a few minutes to spear thank you for this insightful information it is useful in life in general

  32. Dr Simon thank u for your time and insights on what I would call harmful people. Ididnt know it was a medical term for it. You my mother was like these covert aggressive types no child should be raised by these people. I was told I was stupid constantly and often beat up up like I was an adult constant cussing and fussing. Often we heard about her killing herself. T he guilt trip was crazy.Anyway I was the Lucky one lol that mom always wanted to be around . I had the kind heart and would give u my last dime. I served in this nations army s
    Did pretty good for myself got my bachelor’s degree in bus management by the way I’m the only one who finished higher education and I was was the one called stupid.just a side note even as a child I never believed what my mom said about me . My heart was always tender to her I just knew somehow that she was sick call it a god thing whatever I didn’t even know about god much or Jesus Christ but later I learned how much he loved me and cared for me. My heart stayed kind inspire of many cruel acts by mom. Then married a man just like her .only u would say he was more psysciopath as he is now in prison again He was always lying any way he attempted murder on a female where she worked he pulled a gun on her but it didn’t go off. H e did 10years got out a dbusted into new girlfriend house shot and killed her friend a lady then he shot girlfriend in the leg.I had been divorced from him for about 4year when the first incident and this last incident was in 2004. There is not enough time to tel u all the horror I went through the 3years we were married. I want the ladies and gentleman to know that the beautiful and wonderful way god created you is worth u living for. U are wired for love and that is the god kind of love. Its a choice . Love is kind and patience it keep no record of right or wrong.I told god one night long ago that I don’t like to hate I asked god inspitre of how my husband treated me please take this hate from my heart I never hated anyone in my life ididnt like it and that night when I slept I saw my husband in a dream hovered over in a dared corner shivering with only a sheet over him and lost souls all around him jaunting and tormenting him I woke up screaming help him help him somebody go god I’ll help him .I was crying out of control . I laid down with pure hate I woke up with pure love for someone who would have killed me with the blink of an eye. I cannot begin to tell u the wonderful journey I’ve had in my life since and I asked the good lord to pick my mate for me because u made me lord I cannot do or see what u know and see but I know I love the lord he saved me and in a dream again I saw my husband now and had never seen him before he said when he saw me it was like a spotlight was on only me in the room he came right up to me asked me to dance it was at a wedding reception we met 23 years later still living each other god way. I have prayed for all of u guys on here . I’m so proud oof you all may the peace of god rest upon u all keep the beautiful thoughts in your mind and heart because you think I am and an grace and peace be multiplied to u through the knowledge f jess Christ.

    1. Oh dear Lord, please pray for me. I am beginning to hate my husband and it is scaring. Me. I am a Christian but my fruit is absent when it comes to. Y reaction to my husband’s treatment of me.

  33. Dr. Simon,

    I am coming in on this dicsussion late…but I have a question about children.
    I am married to a classic CA. I have known this for quite awhile and have stopped “the dance” for the most part.
    This past year things came to a head and I contacted a lawyer. I have not filed yet but have my hand on the trigger. Like most of the others – once you understand what your dealing with (the CA) you can see them coming before they have time to impliment their attack. I have stopped allowing him to set me up to be the aggressor so he can play the victim…(his rage would ignite my intollerance for it). I set the boundries and he plays by my rules more or less or he does not get to play. I have learned that the more important things or situations are to me – the more power he has…so I have learned not to care about things happening in a certian way anymore.
    My issue is the kids – My husband is well versed in his CA disorder and is 52 years old. We have a 4 year old and a 7 year old. The 7 year old is picking up alot of his caracterisitics (as well as my own) and I cannot sheild them from him.
    I am feeling a bit guilty about staying with him just to use him….I am creating my own nerosis here…I now know how to manipulate him and trigger him so well that its a sick game. The kids are the ones loosing because they are not seeing a mother and Father in a loving relationship. I think the only reason I have stayed is that they will blame me for breaking up our family. They love their dad but they know that there is something wrong with him.
    I don’t know what I am asking – maybe I am just needing to share with someone who knows what I am dealing with.
    I do not want my children to grow up to be like him or to pick a partner like him.

  34. I had a question, why does a CA always think that it is the partner who is in the wrong and needs all kinds of mental help?

    1. Hi, most likely, the CA doesn’t think that at all. The CA is trying to shift the focus off him/her onto you. He is trying to get you to doubt yourself, your reality, your perception. If he can convince you, then he’s succeeded in one-upping you in his play for power. If he gets you to think you might be in any way crazy, he can continue to get away with his horrid behavior and continue to get you to believe that the lies are true. Sneaky, huh!

    2. They don’t think that……it’s called scapegoating. Just another tactic to get the focus off of them……another part of the play.

  35. Being new to the material on this subject, a question for the author:

    Is it possible for people to live out this manipulation without actually realizing what they are doing?

    That could take on several manifestations; for example, an emotionally/affectively dependent person whose drive is blindly overbearing and clingy.

    Another example, a psychologically imbalanced person who has identified himself/herself as a moral protagonist and believes he/she is incapable of doing wrong, having a victim mentality.

    The examples provided in what you wrote seem to be more of the psychopathic type – more aware of how society perceives their actions, even recognizing the immorality of their own tactics, and I wonder if there are others who are simply unaware of the nature of their actions, and would be ashamed if they were to be made to understand what they were doing?

    Thank you for your work in this field.

  36. I’m so glad I found this website. I think my longterm boyfriend has this disorder.
    Over the last 6 years, I’ve noticed a subtle change in him, but I was dealing with the death of my mom, my brother, my nephew and my long time companion animal within a matter of months apart. Needless to say, I was completely overwhelmed, and on top of all that, had to have 2 major back surgeries in between these major losses. He was one of the only people I had to depend on, so even though during these times he started acting up, doing things to try stress me out, or make me question myself, or just flat out lie to me about things he had done to cover it up, I let it slide because I had to pick my battles. If I kicked him out, I’d suffer financial instability, which I didn’t dare risk on top of everything else. Frankly, as I look back, I think that’s why he did this because he knew I was too weak to fight back. That’s even worse, to kick a person while they’re down, intentionally create chaos in the only environment where you feel safe, your own home.
    Now I’ve gathered up some strength, I see what he’s been up to, and I’m ready to start the exit strategy. Because I am on a fixed income, I need to pre plan so I don’t suffer financially as well as emotionally. I can’t seem to ever find anything on preplanning to leave a relationship with an abuser. {with the exception of a DV abuser, which I’m not being threaten with violence} The biggest issue is he is a VERY sneaky, he rifles through my purse, my drawers, anything he can to get information like my bank accounts, credit card statements, etc. I ended up having to lock up so of my medications because I caught him stealing them from me before, so I do have locked cabinet finally.
    If you can recommend any websites or books that help the victim of a manipulative person to get away from them intact, I’d sure appreciate that! I need to stall for about 6 months, so suggestions on how to set limits and stand up to these bullies in interim would also be helpful.

  37. I have always felt torn in two, my husband SAYS he loves me, cares about me. He is for the most part responsible in most things. It used to be SOOO much worse, now he uses that as ammo, like if I bring up an issue that bothers me, he will say “But I’m not as bad as I used to be?” Making me feel like I’m being demanding and rediculous. Or I will bring up a something that bothered me that he said/did and he will just jump straight to “I’m a monster aren’t I?” I ask him why he has to label himself and hide behind that, and he will say “That’s just what I am, I can’t change, haven’t you learned that yet?”
    He will never just say “I’m so sorry, I regret what I did. Let me make it up to you.” That’s all I’ve ever wanted. But his sorries are very cold, no hugging no love. Just a mumbled sorry, or he waits until it was a huge ass argument to later be like “I’m sorry about how that turned out.” Then he goes to bed like he’s the one wronged.
    He ALWAYS turns it around on me like I made him do something or react a certain way.
    One day while I was telling him if he could focus on me while I’m talking to him instead of text another woman on his phone and said that people in relationships or even just friends usually do that sort of thing He said:” We’re not really in a relationship and not really friends either” all while his face is in his phone. Later he said, “I didn’t mean that we weren’t friends I meant that it seems like we’re not.”
    I feel like I’m going crazy, like I can’t trust anything I think. I second guess myself all the time and I tell him i feel completely unloved and like he doesn’t care about me and he will say “But I’m not abandoning you financially, I must care at least a little about you.” Unfortunately the stress has caused me immense social anxiety, so I don’t have a job yet. I used to be so bad 2 years ago I would go order a coffee and my hands would be shaking and lips quivering. I’m slowly getting better but I still feel like maybe if I just stopped letting him not saying sorry bother me so much/diverting/projecting we could have a really good relationship.
    He never directly insults me/calls me names and he has stopped destroying/wrecking my personal things, he has only pushed me once before. He used to CONSTANTLY tease about how hot I am/sexual hounding like every 10 minutes that he doesn’t do anymore which makes me think if he could just change this one thing or relationship would be good. But do I even want to stay for “good”? after everything that has happened to me, I’m not attracted to him anymore. But if I leave him I will have NO ONE. No friends, family, just me all alone everyday feeling exactly the same as the day before.
    I’m sorry for the long comment and I know this is an old post but I haven’t told anyone this it feels good to get it out.

    1. Kristina Hi. I am very sorry to read of your personal situation and can feel the pain coming from your every word (which I can certainly identify with). A good start for you would be to purchase a copy of Dr.Simons book Character Disturbance, which I suspect will go a long way to helping you understand the narrative around what is taking place in your life. It will help clear the fog around dealing with these characters. It will, to a degree, set you free. Please try to bear in mind that you are NOT the one in the wrong and thereby the problem does not lie with you. You deserve respect, you deserve dignity, you deserve to be considered and to be valued. This might be a good start http://lifeesteem.org/wellness/wellness_manipulation.html
      I wish you well:)

    2. Also Krystina (I apologise for the previous misspelling of your name btw)……I found this website to be extremely useful in setting in place boundaries as regards the way you are treated. You might well not be able to change the way your husband will seek to treat you however what you CAN change is the way you respond to be treated in such a fashion. Again, best of luck to you…… http://www.way-of-the-mind.com/manipulative-people.html

      1. Danny, I just read this and I want to say something about being unknowingly manipulated by a pathological, it will often produce similar behaviors! So all I have to do is look to my other relationships in my life and see that those behaviors are not there in my dealings with them! Again……the word REactive behavior as opposed to active, covert, intentional manipulation.

        “A Word of Caution

        Remember that manipulative people are often unaware of their behavior. Actually, we are all manipulative people to a certain extent (read the article Manipulative behavior: Am I manipulative?) Therefore, identifying manipulation can be instrumental in improving relationships of all kinds. Refrain from judging and just be aware!”

        1. Hi Puddle. Yes, I think I can see what you mean and well understand that one might react in any number of behaviours, some similar to what one might associate with manipulation. Or at least I think that is what you are saying!? Am I right? If so, I have no truck with that. Although my experience is that covert, active, intentional manipulative behaviour is very different to those of the reactive kind (even though they may at first glance seem similar). Also, and I might be wrong in saying this, but I’m not sure it is helpful to say “we are all manipulative people to a certain extent”……(in quoting that article). I like to think of it more as being a case of “normal” character development is such that we will all influence each other to a lesser or greater extent, to advance our goals or ideals or whatever. For example, I will covertly influence my children to achieve a specific end result that, though they are completely unaware, is for their benefit…..not mine. I do it because I love and respect them. I think that is wholly healthy. Influence respects the other person, manipulation doesn’t……at all. As I say, I may be wrong but that is how I see it.

          1. Danny, I’ve been trying to think of some examples of how ‘we are all manipulative to some degree’, other than what you say about how we as parents attempt to sometimes covertly influence our children. I can think of one time I manipulated someone to save my life or at least avoid getting raped. I manipulated him with everything I had, in the most covert and effective way over several hours, I lied, minimized, acted, exaggerated, played dumb, covertly stroked his ego… all sorts. He let me go in the end. Long story but interesting re manipulation. We manipulate our Resume and our appearance and communication when we go for a job. When I go for a job, I put on my best ‘cultured lady of good breeding’ act lol! I also deliver on the goods when I get the job though. So perhaps there is a place for some forms of manipulation when it is essential to our survival and is not presenting something that is going to cause another to experience loss or feel defrauded? Just a thought.

          2. Juliette, your rape example is not really manipulation. Manipulation in the sense that all of us are trying to understand is interpersonal and withing a given relationship. Someone who is trying or wanting to rape you is either not in the circle to begin with because they are a stranger or they are out of the circle by default because their violent actions have put an un-agreed to spin on the “relationship”. I don’t know what you call it but to me it’s much different to lie to someone (and whatever else you need to do) if you are trying to save your live or personal sanctity.

          3. no, you are right Danny. OK, I will say this…..there were times during the situation with Spathtard that I backed off from the relationship, times that I shamed him for his behavior towards me, times that I tried to be less available ( I was told to do this so that HE could be the man and come towards me), times that I was less affectionate towards him because I was TRYING to not be a puppy dog door mat…….Did I mean him any harm? no. Did I do it to hurt him? no. In fact it was all I could do to not just be “all over him”! So much of MY behavior was just being worn out, mentally and emotionally,,,,,confused beyond belief.

          4. @Juliette. Yes, tis interesting – I don’t see your example as manipulation. I just looked at the dictionary definition of the word and one definition came up as ‘to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner: to manipulate people’s feelings’. Maybe your situation was more mediation or negotiation than manipulation as is more routinely understood. I don’t see what you were doing as in any way unfair – or even if it was, the unfairness is irrelevant. I was thinking of the whole process of undergoing mental or psychological therapy….in whatever the guise. Often, the patient may not know how they are been led down a particular line which may in fact be revealing more about themselves than they would ordinarily be comfortable. Yes, very interesting.

          5. @Puddle. I don’t think you were being manipulative either. It is clear to me you were not trying to cause any harm or hurt. I see your response as entirely understandable in setting in place boundaries to prevent your ex taking further advantage and inflict further hurt towards you.

          6. Puddle and Danny, thanks for the feedback, interesting points you both make. I agree that there is no place for any form of manipulation within pair bonds. I think the difference is that covert manipulation has an agenda of its own, without respecting the freewill of the other. An example to illustrate my point is a CA may try to manipulate/influence their partner into feeling good by working on him all day so that she can break the news to him she spent too much money on an unnecessary item. It’s still wrong even though by the evening the guy was feeling amazing, loved and blissful. There was an agenda. There is a difference between support and manipulation too. For example my friend’s 19 yo son died traumatically and tragically. She wasn’t functioning at all basically, especially in the early days. I manipulated her for at least a year, and manipulated things in her world with all I had, in obvious but sometimes discreet or (covert if you like) ways, that helped her to get through the grieving process. It did have an agenda but the agenda wasn’t self serving at her expense, it was to her benefit. This is the kind of thing we do with our kids too I think.

    3. Hi Krystina, Welcome and I am sorry you have this in your life. Please educate yourself to the best of your ability. Read as much as you can on this site and others. Great articles about exactly what you are dealing with are plentiful these days. Check out Lovefraud.com, read the stories and gain the understanding you didn’t have when you have been with him thus far. The most powerful thing that these types have in their vast arsenal of manipulation and abuse is our ignorance of their existence and tactics.
      If you keep reading articles and posts you will find that you are not alone and PLEASE do not let him make YOU feel bad or responsible when he is the one who is bad and irresponsible. When you are in the hands of an abusive manipulator……your dysfunctions are REACTIVE even if you don’t consciously realize you are being manipulated.
      I would also suggest that to the best of your ability, you begin to enlarge your companionship resources. You need to have your own thing going on…..friends, interests, things that make you feel good about YOU and things and people who support you.

    4. Hi Krystina, Firstly, as much as you have my heartfelt sympathy for your situation I would like to congratulate you for taking the step of reaching out for help and insight. Everything you have described that you are feeling and experiencing is totally normal for someone in your situation. I would just like to say that Danny and Puddle have given you some good strong advice that I wholeheartedly agree with. I too have gone from being an independent, strong woman to a hermit isolated from my friends and family over the last five years with a manipulator and abuser. Reading Dr Simon’s books and using this website has given me the strength and support I needed to move forward to the happy life I know I am capable of, I’m almost there now, not quite but almost. You can buy the books as ebooks so that they are not laying about your home, if that makes you feel safer. I signed up recently with audible.com and they give you a free credit for one book and that’s how I read or rather ‘listened’ to Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, because I didn’t want my partner to know I was taking the steps to empower myself, because I didn’t feel safe about his cranky reactions. There is a whole lot of people out there who see your worth and are willing to support you if you just keep on taking the steps in the right direction. And by the way you never have to apologize here for reaching out and telling your story, long or not. I bet there is so much more that you are experiencing and confused about. You have found a gem floating in a sea, by coming across Dr Simon’s site that can help you to feel sane again and take back control of your life and happiness :-))

  38. covert aggressors often pull in people who miss the fact that they’re giving in to naughty pleasures like sex, gossip, lying, or drug use. mindless pleasure is the death of one. the CA is killing themself too. being mindful of indulgence is key to avoiding being gripped.

  39. I can’t believe that I’ve read all these stories. I have felt so alone for so long. Even though I’ve had friends and family around. I’ve been totally ashamed and horrified to talk to them and now after nearly 9 years I’ve thought they are just sick of it. So I shut down. I’ve been to hell and I’m back now thank god or I would of been dead. I’m ok now and to read all this that I have been through myself and much more is just quite un believable. What’s been the truest element to me is the deceit. Through cold blooded manipulation and lies and deceit. Emotionally, physically and financially. My heart has been broken into pieces and I’m now putting it back together. I have 3 daughters and I feel so disappointed in myself for what I’ve chosen as I thought it was real. I have so much to say that I have no idea where to start. Just a big thank you to dr simon for his work and all these people who have written on this blog. My gosh if all the pain was collected and transformed into good it would change the world. To be as it should be

    1. Daisy, You have nothing to be ashamed of. You were the victim of deception (from what it sounds like). A person doesn’t know until they KNOW and until then they plug along using what they do know based on the knowledge and experience they have. I can almost compare this to finding out there are aliens from outer space living amongst us, it is just that unbelievable to me.
      Hang in there Daisy, I’m happy to hear you say that you are on the rebound!

    2. It is covert activity, I can feel it coming, but I do not know what shape or form it will present it’s nasty self. I hear you about the isolated target. It does give him satisfaction, as the mocking grin and open sarcastic scorn drives the assault deeper.

  40. Hi. Im 23 and I live with my cousin. Most of the time, it is just me and him in the house. For a really long time now I have been trying to put my finger on what is up with my cousin. After online surfing for a bit, I found this article and others that shed a light and completely identified my cousin. Just by reading a few of the tactics, I could pinpoint them exactly in our previous arguments. Before I tell a story in which all of these tactics are demonstrated, im going to list a few things my cousin does:

    – backhanded compliments with condescension e.g. touches certain parts of my skinny body that have no muscles and says “hey, you’re getting up there! mister tough guy.”

    – ambiguous statements that can either be an insult or innocent (somewhat like backhanded compliments, but a bit different) i.e. bringing up little tid bits from previous arguments in which he believes I was wrong, but does so in a way that seems innocent. if I try to call him out on it, he will only put his hands up in defense and say that he wasn’t trying to insult me. this reaction from me is all that he wants.

    – fixes whatever I do. e.g. I cleaned a recycling bin we had. five minutes later he cleans it, even though there is nothing to clean. I tell him that I just cleaned it and he “plays dumb” as if he didn’t know, even though I saw him look at me while I did it. e.g. I lock back door, he sees me do it, he walks up to the door, unlocks it, relocks it and says “good to go.”

    – gives me dirty looks. it’s that wide-eyed rolling of the eyes thing he does. usually happens in the morning or at the end of the night before I go to bed. I say “hey, good morning.” he gives me that look. it’s that look that a jock in high school would give to a nerd for talking to him. I know that if I said “hey, what’s wrong? why the look?” he will deny that anything is wrong, and he feels like he “won” by getting me to react.

    – in constant competition with me, in a competition that i don’t even know im in. e.g. i watch nature documentary, he starts watching nature documentaries. e.g. he sees me working out, he starts to work out.

    there a few other things, but let me get to the story.

    THE STORY

    There are these two little girls who like to hang out behind our house. They have to be at least 10, if not 12. They are back there alone and their parents are never seen, so I assume that they are old enough to be on their own, especially if they have a friend. They most likely had cellphones as well.
    Anyway, one day me and my cousin were in the backyard and we heard them.
    My cousin said jokingly “man, those girls are lucky that I don’t go back there, grab one of them by the hair and drag them all the way to their house and tell their parents that they’re trespassing.”
    I said “yeah, I wish you could, but you would probably get in trouble.”
    My cousin replies “no, I wouldn’t.” < no, I would not get in trouble for grabbing someone else's child by the hair and dragging them through the neighborhood.

    So we start arguing about this. My cousin made an entire scenario in which he would be dragging a girl by the hair. I did my best to explain to him how he could get in trouble for doing that.

    This is what could have happened if he did it. While I write it out, I will stop and describe how my cousin tries to manipulate the entire argument. (*) Let me tell you that my only motive in this argument was to get my cousin to say "yes, it is a possibility I could get in trouble for doing that." that's all I wanted out of him. he does his best to avoid it.

    – cousin goes behind the house and grabs one of the girls by the hair. he is a stranger to them.
    * there are two girls back there, but my cousin omits the second one from the story. she doesn't exist now in his story, but she does in mine because she WAS THERE.

    – cousin drags little girl by the hair up the path and out onto the street. the girl is kicking and screaming, trying to make him let go. her friend is also screaming and crying, telling him to let her go. people on the street see what is going on, people driving by stop, people in their houses hear the commotion, come running outside. ALL OF THESE PEOPLE ARE NOW WITNESSES.
    * according to my cousin, NO ONE ever kicks and screams while having their hair pulled. so therefore no one would hear the girl crying and screaming. ALSO, no one would be on the street. so no witnesses. convenient, eh? we discussed this a bit and I listed what I thought were great examples of people screaming and kicking while having their hair pulled. When two women fight, they usually grab each other's hair and they don't let up, they keep fighting. Pretty good point, right? NOOOOO. my cousin secures that he is right by stating that "people don't kick and scream while having their pulled, because I have seen it happen." Okay, so since he's seen it happen, we can assume he is right…no facts, just states that he is right because "he knows".

    – as he is dragging the girl up the street, neighbors are yelling at him and following him, dialing the police, the girl's friend is still following them. he gets to the parents' house. they open up their door to find a strange man holding their distraught daughter by the hair. the father grabs the child while the mother starts to call the police. the police show up, ask all of the neighbors what they saw, ask the victim's friend what she saw, ask the parents, and then ask the victim herself. now remember, these girls ARE NOT 5 years old. they were old enough for their parents to let them wander the neighborhood in a pair.
    * First my cousin tries to get me on something I said. At the beginning I said it was possible for him to get into trouble. He sounds amazed when I mentioned cops. "cops? what do they have to do with it?" I sat silent for a moment. "WHAT?" I ask.
    "You didn't say anything about cops."
    "I said you could get into trouble."
    "yeah but you made it sound like I would only get in trouble with the parents."
    "parents, cops, they're both liable to get you into trouble."
    ^ DIGRESSION- he has diverged the topic onto something else, hoping that I stray away from the main argument and get confused.
    "yeah well you should have said cops in the first place."
    "well im saying it now."
    "yeah but it wouldn't matter, because cops don't listen to kids." < another one of my cousin's famous statements.
    Like I stated earlier, these girls weren't really kids. I would say pre-teen. But at this point, my cousin acts as if he's won the argument.
    "what do you mean they don't listen to kids?"
    "when I was a kid, whenever I tried to tell a cop about what my dad was doing, they didn't care."
    NOW. he is trying to compare a situation that happened to him to this situation. let me break it down.

    MY COUSIN'S SITUATION:
    . my cousin is around 6-8 years old
    . the cops show up for drugs, not domestic violence or child abuse
    . the child is not their main priority

    THE GIRL'S SITUATION:
    . stranger grabs her by her by the hair
    . witnesses call about girl being abused
    . cops show up specifically on a child abuse call

    But no, my cousin is supposed to win the argument because he said that cops don't listen to kids, because "HE KNOWS".

    Throughout the entire argument, my cousin constantly tries to switch things up. But I get him at every turn.

    I finally get to the point of asking him "so you know the law? you know everything about the law? I don't anything about the law, but im still open to possibility."
    this question got him stumped. it's either he says he doesn't know the law and all of his arguments are weakened, or he blatantly LIES and says he does know the law, thus making everything he says right. So he of course lies and says he knows everything about the law, but he says it somewhat reluctantly.

    After a while, all of his tactics started getting to me. I was so angry at how he was lying that I ended up just calling him a liar over and over. I couldn't help it.
    He finally says "I am going to hit you." < premeditated assault?
    without thinking I told him "go ahead!"
    He attacks me, punching me several times in the face and all over the body. He ends up with himself on top of me, his hands around my neck. he wasn't choking me, but he had me completely submitted, not that he had to try that hard. I knew as soon as he was hitting me that HE WAS WRONG. I didn't fight back. I just let it happen.

    Now, this is where it gets really interesting. He gets off of me and heads to the kitchen. I follow him. He turns around and tells me to hit him. He says he felt bad and wanted to give me a free shot.
    WRONG! he didn't feel bad. he wanted me to hit him so that he could make it seem less severe on his end. "hey I heard you attacked your cousin." "yeah, but he fought me right back, so…"
    I told him no, that I won't fall for that trick. I can't remember exactly what happens after this, what we were saying, but it gets to the point where my cousin blurts out exactly what I wanted him to say in the first place.
    "yeah, it is a possibility I could get in trouble over that."
    I slap my hands together and scream "THANK YOU!!!!!"
    he looks at me weird and says "what? what are you doing that for?"
    I reply "After all of this, you finally decide to admit it!"
    get ready for the bomb…
    He says "I don't understand what you are talking about; ive been saying that this entire time."

    …im not going to say anything else.

    now for Projecting Blame and Minimization!!!

    a couple of hours later my cousin apologizes for attacking me, but says that I was at fault as well. He said that if i hadn't of said "go ahead", he wouldn't have attacked me. So it's no longer just his fault…it's mine as well. I completely disagree. I wasn't threatening him in any way and he attacked me. case closed.

    he tried to make his attack on me less severe than it was. he said that although he had his hands around my neck that he would never do that. he then states that his attack on me wasn't as bad as it could have been….

    I don't know what else to say. Sorry for the long post. if anyone wants to correct me, please do so.
    I tend to keep my mouth shut now around my cousin. i identify all the things he does and refuse to play his game.

    1. JOHN, That is a lot to take in an “”to me”” it sounds like some very strange things are going on there, things you may choose to not have in your life. It sounds like you see many things that are not ok with you and some of them certainly sound very off “to me”. I guess I would continue to observe and make a decision accordingly. There is much about the whole story that concerns me. Maybe Dr. Simon will kick in some observations.

      1. I understand it’s a lot. ive been living with my cousin for about 5 years. we lived in san Francisco with my brother and nothing was wrong then. I guess you could say my cousin was manipulating my brother at the time, because when I showed up to live with them, their relationship was sour. my brother even once told me that he believed my cousin to be a sociopath. I lived downstairs, my cousin lived upstairs. after we moved, we are currently in the place we reside now, the only difference is that our rooms are 3 feet from each other, so we are literally always around each other. my brother doesn’t live with us anymore, and my cousin’s grandmother only shows up on the weekends. I feel like im trapped and I can never be myself.

          1. no. I live 4 hours from my family and we just moved to this place we reside, so I have no friends. I plan on moving back with my family soon. I think it would be best for me and my cousin. thanks for your concern. im honestly more worried about his grandmother, because once she’s fully retired, she will be around him all the time and he already has her under his thumb. he’s created a system of perpetual guilt with her and I only wish I could help stop it.

          2. JOHN, I watched my brother manipulate $$ out of my parents my entire life and drag many MANY really undesirable people into their world. I don’t know what to tell you about this because it is a double edged sword. My parents were adults, responsible for their own choices but also VERY naive. SO yes, they were choosing to enable him on one hand but also being manipulated into doing it. It was horrible and it’s still going on with my father. It is exceedingly sad and i feel like I have to run interference to a certain degree and keep my eye on the situation…………but there is only so much i can do. I get scapegoated ALL THE TIME. And my father is now almost in his 90’s so I ask myself, between his age and his sheltered life experience, how much of an informed decision is he really making?
            My two HUGE soft spots are for the elderly and animals so I understand your concern for this woman. I wish I could offer some better advise but your idea of moving back with your family and more importantly out from your cousins sounds like a wise choice.

  41. Why is it that I never looked into this information before?? Dealing with manipulative controlling family members for over 33 yrs- I was in a constant state of misery and couldn’t figure it out, the confusion was so great- I didn’t even think to look up the information online- this is how powerful a toxic manipulative person can be-you feel like there is no way out- and there ‘must be something wrong with you’ – I now have proof! and it’s so empowering. Knowing that you have the right to protect yourself. It’s been six months since I have cut off contact with the person who was making my life a living hell, and I’m slowly healing and starting to feel like myself again. Sometimes you need to fight with everything you have to be happy, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that 🙂

    1. Rachel, It really is a wonderful thing to discover and it can change your entire existence in the world. I’m happy for you. I really don’t know how long sites like Dr. Simon’s have been around because until I personally was kicked in the heart by Spathtardx I had no reason to look but I am positive they were not around 33 years ago!
      Good luck to you in your recovery!

  42. For some reason whenever I say anything to my husband after his being upset with me at all for anything I have done or not done that doesn’t live up to his standards for himself alone that is not done exactly the way he sees fit and in the precise way he would do things or anything that hurts his feelings or pride in any way shape form or fashion that is anything less than kissing his ass and telling him I am a worthless piece of shit otherwise he makes this statement to me instead of us discussing the issue at hand ( turn it around why don’t you make it all about you ) He does this regardless and tries to make me seem like the only screwed up in our relationship and wants me to apologize to him and tell him how I am a screw up and how he is so great he doesn’t deserve to be done that way basically till I get on my knees and beg forgiveness or do exactly what he is asking me to do regardless of how I feel about the issue and regardless of how he handled himself in similar situation where he justified what he did or said to me and how it made me look or feel with what comes down to he can do no wrong and I am either stupid or crazy and just or a total screw up because he has never lied to me , cheated on me or did what I either seen with my own eyes ,caught him in red handed and had proof to back it up. Even if other people see the same things and hear the same things I did and they say something to me about it and he finds out about it he somehow turns them around and convinces them that wasn’t what they heard or seen either otherwise not only am I crazy they are two and then he has nothing good to say when it comes to that person anymore and wants them out of my life ( but doesn’t want them to know what he said or know that he is the reason why I don’t come around anymore. So what I want to know is am I the screwed up one am I the one with the control issues??What needs to be done?or am I just crazy ?

  43. I need help ,For some reason whenever I say anything to my husband after his being upset with me at all for anything I have done or not done that doesn’t live up to his standards for himself alone that is not done exactly the way he sees fit and in the precise way he would do things or anything that hurts his feelings or pride in any way shape form or fashion that is anything less than kissing his ass and telling him I am a worthless piece of shit otherwise he makes this statement to me instead of us discussing the issue at hand ( turn it around why don’t you make it all about you ) He does this regardless and tries to make me seem like the only screwed up in our relationship and wants me to apologize to him and tell him how I am a screw up and how he is so great he doesn’t deserve to be done that way basically till I get on my knees and beg forgiveness or do exactly what he is asking me to do regardless of how I feel about the issue and regardless of how he handled himself in similar situation where he justified what he did or said to me and how it made me look or feel with what comes down to he can do no wrong and I am either stupid or crazy and just or a total screw up because he has never lied to me , cheated on me or did what I either seen with my own eyes ,caught him in red handed and had proof to back it up. Even if other people see the same things and hear the same things I did and they say something to me about it and he finds out about it he somehow turns them around and convinces them that wasn’t what they heard or seen either otherwise not only am I crazy they are two and then he has nothing good to say when it comes to that person anymore and wants them out of my life ( but doesn’t want them to know what he said or know that he is the reason why I don’t come around anymore. So what I want to know is am I the screwed up one am I the one with the control issues??What needs to be done?or am I just crazy ?

  44. This sounds like my life story with my husband since the day I said I do, this behavior started with him telling me that he treats me how much better my life with him is than it was with my ex husband and how no one else would do near as much for me or treat me half as good as he has the first time something became an issue between us ….I should listened to my first gut instinct back then and just told him that he was right yes he does treat me better than my ex did thats why he’s my ex because i deserve better and let him know i deserve just as much as him !

  45. I am just getting out of an 7 year relationship with a CA. We got married 7 months ago however within 6 wks of marriage, I finally had the strength, support and evidence to walk away. Talk about bad timing.
    Our beginning was rocky. And when I look back, there were so many red flags. I was isolated from my family and friends and made to believe that I hurt him so severely that he was almost suicidal for a lie I said. I was young and naive. I worked so hard to get our relationship back on track because I was so guilt on the pain a caused him. This was my first two years. Then the part that confuses me was the next few years were not too bad. There were things I didn’t like however such as his gambling but then he told me it was controlled and only thought I’m too strict on him and I should tolerate this because he still says he loves me and does other things for me. Problems started again however just months before the wedding. He became distant and short with me. There was minimal help with the wedding. Again thinking well men don’t do too much, maybe I’m overreacting again and having ‘pre wedding jitters’ but his behaviour continued to be distant, his character changed but no one else saw. I thought I. Was going crazy and had enough so I followed him… And got my answers. There were so many lies which he does not admit to. I was also Told I was crazy as I followed him and I have insecurities. His family say he would never cheat on me. He says we both hurt each other. More things have unravelled and his ‘controlled’ gambling shows money withdrawn from our mortgage. I trusted him so much.
    Now the tables have turned and he says he is so emotionally hurt by me leaving he is under strict psychiatric care.
    There has been so much self doubt whether I am doing the right thing as is is a yoyo between whether my partner truely cared for me and I am overreacting and standing up for my own beliefs.
    Can a CA character show itself in stages as it seems to hAve been the case at the beginning and end of our relationship and the middle was the most stable?

  46. I have been reading a ton of information on what my children and I endured for almost 4 years and continuing. I had been in some not so good relationships before my now ex, but nothing like this. I knew something was wrong in the very beginning of our relationship, but it never dawned on me that he could have some type of personality disorder. I didn’t even know that there were personality disorders for that matter. I just say he is abusive, because of course I do not have a PHD in Psychology, but from what I have read over the past year I know something is not right with him. It took me looking back on the relationship to realize he had targeted me from the very beginning. We met while we were both serving in the military. He was a Cadre for the Wounded Warrior Battalion and I was a returning Wounded Warrior. I was not even looking to date anyone at the time I returned, because I was just trying to fix myself. I realized he had stalked me before we had even started dating in order to get information about me. I guess this must be there way to sniff out our weaknesses and eventually use them against us. To make a long story short. He was in trouble already for assault with a deadly weapon against another female soldier whom he had been dating. He played on my, “I can be different and treat you better than all of your crazy exes.” He gave me a sad sob story about how this ex was on 10 different SSRI’s, and she was so jealous of his daughter, etc. His stories of his exes now that I have had time to reflect on the stories he told me are all the same. They were either “Crazy”, he didn’t get along with there families, or they had spent his money, or they had cheated. He always had an excuse for every thing, and that seemed so odd to me, but I was young and he was 14 years older than me, and had been a former Police Officer, SSGT in the military, Special Forces etc. I was completely blown away by this man. He seemed like my perfect partner. Said he would take care of me, wanted to marry me and have a baby with me and on and on. A few months into the relationship I saw a side to him that I am now wishing I had never ignored. His daughter was graduating from nursing school, and he became angry when his ex wife did not want him at the dinner they were having. He went on to say it was probably her now husband who didn’t like him. We were talking in his truck on our way back to our place, and he became very enraged by a simple statement I had made. I simply stated that I would not let a man control me, and he grabbed me very roughly by the arm and uttered something. I don’t really remember because it was so long ago. Anyway, the argument continued all that night and so I decided to lay in our living room on the couch. I was awoken by him standing over me and he was very angry. He proceeded to pin me down on a foot stool that was by our couch and chocked me. After he calmed down, he walked me down the hallway like a little child and told me to get my fucking ass back in bed. He then rolled over and went to sleep as if nothing had happened. I did leave, but ended up going back to him. Fast forward to today and many, many more physical assaults not just on myself, but on my children as well I am now in fear for my life and my 20 month olds life. I ended up having to call the police on him back in 2013, and he filled out 4 pages of a police report riddled with nothing but lies about me. I was arrested twice due to his false accusations against me, and have lost almost everything. My charges were eventually dropped, but now without my ex using coercion, manipulation, and psychological abuse to gain possession of our 20 month old. I believed him one last time, and our baby almost ended up paying for my mistake of believing him with his life. I finally recorded him making threats and harassing me (He is on probation and has a mandatory restraining order on him from the 2014 incident). He has continually broken his restraining order by harassing me, sending me secret messages on my Google account, which he calls covert messages, stalking me and has threatened to kill me or anyone else who gets in his way if someone takes our baby from him. It’s almost as if he has to have a reason, or someway to keep abusing me. So now that we have a child together he tries to use our baby as a way to continue it. He was recently arrested again for breaking his restraining order and his probation, and the Police had to be very careful so that our 20 month old did not get in the middle of it. I thankfully have our baby back, but I now fear for my life because I am almost positive that he will be out for blood to get our baby back. He scares me so much, and I just don’t know how to get over my fear of him. He has held his loaded 9mm to my head while I was holding our baby. I don’t trust him and it scares me that the authorities and the court system don’t really grasp the type of person my ex really is. This information has helped a ton, but I just wonder when someone will properly diagnose him before he ends up seriously injuring people or worse. He has been in trouble with the law since he was about 12 years old. This I know because he told me when he was kind of bragging about it, and he has continued that pattern till this day at his age now. Are they seriously going to wait until he commits mass murders? He has already made threats about doing just that. Need help Dr. Simon please and thank you.

    1. You’ve given a lot of information here, Julie. Sorry for your ideal. While I don’t usually respond directly to concerns on this forum, I invite you to contact me directly via the back channel if you wish using the contact feature on the “Contact Dr. Simon” page.

      1. Thank you for getting back to me Dr. Simon just very concerned about what my ex will do next. He is in jail right now, but I am very scared of when he gets out.

  47. It drove me nuts that my ex could do something outlandish like get drunk on our vacation five days in a row and respond to my complaint by half heartedly apologising in order to wipe the slate clean. This way he could do it again and pretend it was a one-time thing. If I refused to believe him, he’d call me unforgiving and accuse me of holding a grudge. He could fall asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow no matter what issue was unresolved, no matter how upset and sleepless I was. He smilingly and proudly attributed this disconcerting ability to sleep to – having a clean conscience! It took ten years of his charming evasions and increasingly bad behaviour, for me to realise that thing he called a conscience was a black hole.

    1. MMargaret, It’s easy to keep your conscience clean when you don’t have one, eh? Again, I find myself nodding my head in agreement! ANYthing Spathtard did deserved immediate dismissal, mean while…..things I had done ONCE many many months before, never done again, and maybe not have even done in the way he said, were thrown up in my face to excuse his behavior or throw the focus off him entirely. I can’t count how many times I’ve thought of something I wish I would have said then to counter his BS and put the focus back on him where it belonged.

  48. Dr. Simon,

    I agree with much of what you written on this topic including that “Holding manipulators and other disturbed characters accountable for their choices and actions is a must.”

    Can you or anyone tell me where you have addressed how this can be done?

    I am especially interested in how people can do this with spouses, adolescents, and relative.

    Thanks.

  49. I have just found that I am in a very manipulative relationship. I’m going on 9 years of being married to the woman of my dreams she was everything I wanted in a woman. Her looks, charm, and affection had me wrapped around her finger . I did everything for her and her kids. Took them on vacations helped them with bills and and always jumped in whenever I could be of assistance. I never asked for anything in return. Life was good for the first three years. That was until I was diagnosed with cancer. Me owning my own construction company was fairly well off. Unfortunately with cancer I was unable to continue working and was forced to let employees go and basically go out of business. This tool me a few years of chemo and a lot of dedication to make it through so much misfortune. This is when everything took a turn for the worst. Once I was done with chemo and ctscans and everything else that goes along with it . I started. Noticing my wife was not really there for me like I had hoped for. Like had been there for her. She would tell me I’m a pussy and to quit expecting so much from her even though I really wasn’t asking anything from her except emotional support. Wich I feel didn’t seem right to even have to ask. Well I am a surviver of cancer now for my fifth year. But never got much support from her. anyway it bothered me but didn’t put much thought into it until my second traumatic event occurred wich happens to be a heart attack. Only less than a year after just finishing chemo. I WaS legally dead three times before I was able to maintain a stable heart rate. Upon leaving the hospital she said ” I don’t want to loose my job your OK now and left me to find means to get home on my own. I thought to myself her job is going nowhere why is so important. I was pretty hurt and Confused wondering what I had done to make her leave me like that. I confronted her About it and she got instantly pissed off like I was accusing her of something even though I wasn’t. She couldn’t see that I was troubled from that. Now little by little she has been taking little jabs at me. I thought it was from all the attention I was getting. So again I blew it off for julousy. Until my third traumatic event happened not even a year after my second. That happens to be a major car accident wich landed me in the hospital for two weeks from a punctured lung and four broken ribs, a concussion and many face laSerations. I was at her mercy to care for me . she was the one driving and rolled the car seven times. She evidently didn’t like taking the blame for that one so she started telling people it was my fault because I had instru ted her to take some pain pills for her arm. Even though she had been drinking. At the time of the accident I had instructed her to slow down and that we just passed a cop. What does she do .. She speeds up because I told her what to do. Now this is when she started lieing to her family about me to keep people from thinking she WS at fault. The little games and controlling issues started. Turning my words around not giving me a chance to have my say or interrupting me and finishing my sentences. She started deceiving her kids wich I worked Very hard to develop a relationship with each one of her girls she has 3 and I also had three from a previous marriage. The way she would make me feel inferrior and demand things and just down right mean about everything I confronted her about. It gets worse. But after wondering what I did to recieve such negativity and abandonment from the love of my life. I turned to the pastor for advice and maybe a little advice. She said I was trying to ruin her rep and embarras her. All I was doing was seeking help. I thought it WS all me because she would tell me it was. I had to alwYs let my feelings go to cater to hers. She wouldn’t ever admit she WS in the wrong or even appoligise for making me feel so alone or abandon. Then my grandmother passed away and had to leave state for the funeral . the whole time she would ignore my calls and accuse me of having fun . I though what nerve she has to make such allagations. Of course I was hurt and confused. On my way back home I had run out of gas about 60 miles from home . she fucking leaves me there to fend for my self in subzero temps. I did find a ride and boy was I pissed when I finally made it to my front door. She acted like she had tried so hard to help me and just down played the whole thing as if she tried everything she could to come get me. Only to find out that she hadent really tried at all. This WS only three years ago. She continues to manipulate me bad. Her lies are exactlty the same as all the forums say a manipulator does. She leave out valuable info to keep me from questioning her and if I do she storms off or hangs up on me . this shit is getting worse by the day. Now we argue everyday. And often turns every thing she does around on me. She is smug and very disrespectful. She never really has had anything to do with my kids. Now just last week my son had this book on his table and it was about manipulating people. So I read a little and dezcovered that this is what’s going on. I have done many hours of reading about this since just a few days ago. I am a victim . I told her I wanted a divorce after realizing what she has been doing to me . I was pretty hurt and felt used and unworthy of her love. Now she is playing this game that she is going to kill her self because I don’t love her. So what does she do. She turned the whole thing around on me and is acting like she has been the victim the whole time. She is the one that stays out late at night. I’m tired of feeling so alone and hopeless. All my friends stopped coming around because of her. But now that I have some insight to what’s really going on. I refuse to play this painful game with her. I want out and don’t know how to go about doing it. I have no family and all my money is wrapped up in my home and land. She continues to demand and order me around like I’m her little puppet. I am devastated and pretty depressed I have to take another loss. Why do I feel I need to do something more for her and feel guilty for wanting to leave the marriage. I also wanted to add that I was very badly abused as a kid and put up for adoption. How much suffering must I go through in life to feel accepted. These articles are good and I’ve learned a lot. ThNk you for all your stories and support. Now I just wish I had the courage to leave or knew what to do to get away from her selfish deeds. I say my prayers and hope I can muster up the courage to leave her. I’m am deeply troubled that people do this to people they love. Any word of wisdom or advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you all for sharing your story. Wish me luck and god bless you

  50. I have just found that I am in a very manipulative relationship. I’m going on 9 years of being married to the woman of my dreams she was everything I wanted in a woman. Her looks, charm, and affection had me wrapped around her finger . I did everything for her and her kids. Took them on vacations helped them with bills and and always jumped in whenever I could be of assistance. I never asked for anything in return. Life was good for the first three years. That was until I was diagnosed with cancer. Me owning my own construction company was fairly well off. Unfortunately with cancer I was unable to continue working and was forced to let employees go and basically go out of business. This tool me a few years of chemo and a lot of dedication to make it through so much misfortune. This is when everything took a turn for the worst. Once I was done with chemo and ctscans and everything else that goes along with it . I started. Noticing my wife was not really there for me like I had hoped for. Like had been there for her. She would tell me I’m a pussy and to quit expecting so much from her even though I really wasn’t asking anything from her except emotional support. Wich I feel didn’t seem right to even have to ask. Well I am a surviver of cancer now for my fifth year. But never got much support from her. anyway it bothered me but didn’t put much thought into it until my second traumatic event occurred wich happens to be a heart attack. Only less than a year after just finishing chemo. I WaS legally dead three times before I was able to maintain a stable heart rate. Upon leaving the hospital she said ” I don’t want to loose my job your OK now and left me to find means to get home on my own. I thought to myself her job is going nowhere why is so important. I was pretty hurt and Confused wondering what I had done to make her leave me like that. I confronted her About it and she got instantly pissed off like I was accusing her of something even though I wasn’t. She couldn’t see that I was troubled from that. Now little by little she has been taking little jabs at me. I thought it was from all the attention I was getting. So again I blew it off for julousy. Until my third traumatic event happened not even a year after my second. That happens to be a major car accident wich landed me in the hospital for two weeks from a punctured lung and four broken ribs, a concussion and many face laSerations. I was at her mercy to care for me . she was the one driving and rolled the car seven times. She evidently didn’t like taking the blame for that one so she started telling people it was my fault because I had instru ted her to take some pain pills for her arm. Even though she had been drinking. At the time of the accident I had instructed her to slow down and that we just passed a cop. What does she do .. She speeds up because I told her what to do. Now this is when she started lieing to her family about me to keep people from thinking she WS at fault. The little games and controlling issues started. Turning my words around not giving me a chance to have my say or interrupting me and finishing my sentences. She started deceiving her kids wich I worked Very hard to develop a relationship with each one of her girls she has 3 and I also had three from a previous marriage. The way she would make me feel inferrior and demand things and just down right mean about everything I confronted her about. It gets worse. But after wondering what I did to recieve such negativity and abandonment from the love of my life. I turned to the pastor for advice and maybe a little advice. She said I was trying to ruin her rep and embarras her. All I was doing was seeking help. I thought it WS all me because she would tell me it was. I had to alwYs let my feelings go to cater to hers. She wouldn’t ever admit she WS in the wrong or even appoligise for making me feel so alone or abandon. Then my grandmother passed away and had to leave state for the funeral . the whole time she would ignore my calls and accuse me of having fun . I though what nerve she has to make such allagations. Of course I was hurt and confused. On my way back home I had run out of gas about 60 miles from home . she fucking leaves me there to fend for my self in subzero temps. I did find a ride and boy was I pissed when I finally made it to my front door. She acted like she had tried so hard to help me and just down played the whole thing as if she tried everything she could to come get me. Only to find out that she hadent really tried at all. This WS only three years ago. She continues to manipulate me bad. Her lies are exactlty the same as all the forums say a manipulator does. She leave out valuable info to keep me from questioning her and if I do she storms off or hangs up on me . this shit is getting worse by the day. Now we argue everyday. And often turns every thing she does around on me. She is smug and very disrespectful. She never really has had anything to do with my kids. Now just last week my son had this book on his table and it was about manipulating people. So I read a little and dezcovered that this is what’s going on. I have done many hours of reading about this since just a few days ago. I am a victim . I told her I wanted a divorce after realizing what she has been doing to me . I was pretty hurt and felt used and unworthy of her love. Now she is playing this game that she is going to kill her self because I don’t love her. So what does she do. She turned the whole thing around on me and is acting like she has been the victim the whole time. She is the one that stays out late at night. I’m tired of feeling so alone and hopeless. All my friends stopped coming around because of her. But now that I have some insight to what’s really going on. I refuse to play this painful game with her. I want out and don’t know how to go about doing it. I have no family and all my money is wrapped up in my home and land. She continues to demand and order me around like I’m her little puppet. I am devastated and pretty depressed I have to take another loss. Why do I feel I need to do something more for her and feel guilty for wanting to leave the marriage. I also wanted to add that I was very badly abused as a kid and put up for adoption. How much suffering must I go through in life to feel accepted. These articles are good and I’ve learned a lot. ThNk you for all your stories and support. Now I just wish I had the courage to leave or knew what to do to get away from her selfish deeds. I say my prayers and hope I can muster up the courage to leave her. I’m am deeply troubled that people do this to people they love. Any word of wisdom or advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you all for sharing your story. Wish me luck and god bless you

    1. Hi Troubled, it sounds like you have your hands full. I think the thing that would help you the most right now is to educate yourself as much as you can. There is nothing wrong with stepping away from any relationship for a significant period of time to get your head together and your feet back under you. It’s very difficult to function effectively until you are on more solid footing. Regroup, reasses and try the best you can to keep the focus on you right now. It’s not easy and does not happen over night but it can really save you.

      1. Troubled, people don’t do this to people they love. I would ask yourself if this is the way you want to be loved, it this the person you really want to be with and why? BUT, if she is a manipulator it will be very hard to get clear answers to your own questions as long as you are with her. It takes a significant amount of time to break free from their influence and it can only be done by 150% ZERO contact with them.

    2. Hi Troubled, Yes…confusing as all get out. You are operating under some really serious financial constraints, too. Can you hang tough until your finances are in order? Tough to be with a CD but it probably beats being homeless. Do you have a network of friends of your own. It might help you a great deal, if you did. You don’t want Nasty-ass to be the focal point of your life. If you can’t leave physically, try to separate emotionally. So sorry for all of your losses and illnesses. What a horror story. Now, if you can get through that you can get through anything! By the way, did I mention what I think of her. Rhymes with ‘witch!’

    3. You must leave her – the longer you stay the more in jeopardy you place yourself. These people don’t love others, they use them. They have no love and are incapable of love – this is very important to understand and it aids in healing ourselves. The suffering has to stop with you. The thing about suffering is this though. When we finally decide to stop suffering is when we grow. Find a good support group who understand your situation. Having just come out of a relationship with a man thanks to a CA he was involved with (not romantically) who came between us and just ripped him away from everybody then proceeded to come after me not being happy she destroyed our relationship because she still felt threatened.

      On the top of having just left a house I bought with my best friend (another CA) who didn’t become apparent until living with her and now she is trying to rip me off for my investment in the property, I was left quite shell shocked, stunned and nearly suicidal. What I have discovered is none of this is or was my fault nor did I deserve any of it. My only error was being a respectable person who does the right thing by others. To a CA this type of person is an easy target – they see kindness as weakness and set about to exploit it. I once thought they mistook kindness for weakness but there is no mistake. They are deliberate and calculated they are nothing more than opportunistic predators. I studied psychology for many years although I didn’t complete my degree – the reason I was studying psychology in the first place was because I became involved with a fully fledged psychopath. His character so perplexed me it prompted me to study the human psyche. Even armed with knowledge about these types they are so covertly manipulative you can still miss it until a lot of damage has been done.

      It is difficult when you have money tied up in where you live you must have income in order to live. I suggest you commence divorce proceedings ASAP and make every attempt to free yourself from this person. When people recommend zero contact there is a reason for it. They will use any situation to their advantage and the more information they have on you the more they will turn it against you. They will continue to twist and distort truth as it serves their purpose. They do know what they are doing there is no room for error here. Do not give her the benefit of the doubt like I did so many times by making excuses for her behaviour or thinking she has a conscience or a soul. They have none of the qualities/virtues that make us human. They don’t deserve the benefit of any doubt and if anything then use this experience as an opportunity of discovery. You have learned there are two diametrically opposite types of people on this planet. It would also be beneficial to yourself and all other people who have fallen prey to these predators to familiarise yourselves with the term “gaslighting” even find and watch the 1940’s movie entitled Gaslight.

      What I am finding and particularly in the past 10 years or so, is that bad things like this appear to only happen to decent people – those who would never set out intentionally to hurt or harm others. I don’t think anybody can truly recover from these onslaughts unless they do their own clinical psychology on themselves. We need to understand what our own early maladaptive childhood schemas are in order to free ourselves of their hold on our behaviour and our ability to react or to respond to any given situation. I could go on forever but I’ll stop here – good luck with your decisions and removing yourself from your abusers life.

  51. Dear Dr. Simon,

    As one of your readers from Europe I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude for your outstanding books and website. Reading your work has been immense help to me as part of the many years of therapy I have been going through.

    I have a question related to this post that I find relevant to my case and might be also of interest in general; specifically the victim-blaming and deceiving aspects of covert aggression.
    How can I ever prove that I am the innocent one and the aggressor is the aggressor? And how can we establish an objective standard as a basis to establish who is the actual aggressor and victim in a given situation?

    Several years ago, after my mother revealed her overt aggressive side was the first time I realized she was an aggressive person and in fact she harbors utterly ill will against me. She timed her violent outburst for a time and place where no one could witness her real self acting out. The scene and her verbal abuse was so severe that the trauma it caused made me seek therapy. I went to therapy also to understand who I am and how I really am: am I really as bad and selfish as my mother claims? When I entered the therapy room, my first request was: “please help me to get rid of my ego” (as my mother stated I have a big ego). In therapy the opposite turned out to be the case: I am the overly conscientious, neurotic one – unsurprising if we consider that exactly such is the way how my mother explicitly educated me: to be an overly conscious and obedient, even slave-type, selfless, surrendering and worrying person.

    The most hurtful part was when during therapy I gradually realized that my mother never loved me, only I loved her dearly. She however used me for her selfish agendas (and she has many). After I read your book I also realized that my mother is a prototype of the covert aggressive personality – astonishingly she has been using ALL tactics of covert aggression that I have read about in your book “In Sheep’s Clothing”, including LIES in massive amounts.

    Throughout my life my mother made me believe that I was her favorite child and she continued telling me so even while in fact she already acted as per the exact opposite: she scapegoated me behind my back through a vicious smear campaign against me, through which she turned all my family members against me. Earlier while I was young and tried to start my own life she held me back in every way she could. In the name of her immense love for me, she tried to separate me from all my friends and my partners.

    My mother often lied to me to the degree that she called the black ‘white’ right in front of my eyes. Until recently I didn’t see what she was doing, because I trusted and believed her with my eyes closed, I believed her exactly because she is my mother. No one in her right mind would assume that her own mother deceives and exploits her very own child. And because I believed her I nearly ruined my life.

    Every since I rebelled against my mother’s constant shaming, guilt trips, blamings, and against the scapegoating itself, my mother claims that I, her “favourite” betrayed her, and she plays to be my victim (!). She even calls herself my scapegoat. She claims that I am her manipulative, evil child (sometimes she calls me schizophrenic) who betrayed her and destroyed her life. Since she is okay in every sense – surrounded with supporting family members and I have no one from our family – it is clearly a blatant lie, yet everyone believes her.

    Since my mother’s slander is centered around the claim that I am a manipulative person and she is accusing me of exactly what she is doing against me, this adds an extra dimension to the hurt and injustice I already have to suffer. All I have is that I am fully aware I am telling the truth, that I am a well-meaning person and I know from experience that my mother is a liar and slanderer, but she claims the opposite to be the case. Everyone believes her grand theater-play. She pretends to suffer, she is crying in front of others, to make everyone feel pity for her, while everyone I contact scolds me that I am such an evil daughter of such a loving, caring, suffering mother. They even refuse to hear my side of the case. And I can’t do anything, since I live abroad, far from my family.

    To realize all this about one’s own mother has been so hurting that I can’t even start to express. My mother even sent me an email when she cursed me and disowned me, yet in everyone’s eye it is ‘okay’ because I am evil.

    After several years now, after crying mu heart out, I gradually got over the hurt she tried to manipulate me back with a sort of no-apology “apology”, a sort of let’s forget everything and don’t talk about the past – an avoidance of reconciliation, a trap I didn’t fall for. To protect myself and my family from this continuous toxicity I cut off all ties with my mother, which now she added as my crime again: she calls me evil because I deserted her and the family (now when she is old and frail).

    In other words, now that I refused to get back to the torture rack she uses this as her ‘proof’ in front of everyone that I am the evil one. Her manipulative, deceiving methods are simple without end, and I am without any tools to defend myself against them. I am scared if I would ever have to enter my country again, no one would ever talk to me. What she is doing against me is crime in a legal sense and I am utterly without defense. Maddening is a word that can’t even start to describe how I feel about this.

    I apologize for the long post and for the likely errors in the text, and thank you in advance for your time and kind attention,
    Marianne

    1. Hello Marianne and welcome. You have had a long, hard road to travel in this life. I knew from a very young age that my egg donor did not love me, but you tried so hard for so many years to be a good daughter, only to be repeatedly and harshly slapped down. You’ve gotten therapy — good for you. Please don’t feel that you owe your “mother” anything. She has not lived an honorable life. Almost everyone who posts here has been through horrible experiences with character disordered people, it is safe for you to come and rant here, if you need to do that. Again, welcome, and I hope that you will feel free to come and visit here — we have some idea of what it is like to be scapegoated. Peace and hope from Elva

      1. Hello Elva,

        Thank you so much for your kindness and compassion. It is wonderful to read your heart-warming welcome and your supporting reply. I do plan to stay around – it is so helpful to be in a safe and welcoming place, among like-minded people who do understand, not only through their mind but also from the heart. What is astonishing and heartbreaking is to realize how many of us suffer in ways similar to my case.

        You are exactly spot on when you mention the thought of owing to my “mother” nothing. For a good daughter and a responsible person – the way I see my core essence – this is indeed the hardest part to accept. It is also very true that the process of awakening has been a long and gradual one, and yet it’s far from over. Even in these days there are moments when I am being pulled back to her. Then I have to remind myself: what I am being pulled back to is not my mother, just my own created image of her. The guilt, hurt and anger all come back in the same circles, that I often wonder if there is an end to this vicious cycle at all.

        Again, thank you for your so kind welcome and for your supporting words, Elva. Wishing you peace and hope too,
        Marianne

        1. Hi Marianne — you will have “up” days and “down” days as you continue your journey towards good emotional health and wholeness. I can absolutely relate to having family members try to pull you back in to the emotional quicksands. I won’t go into details here, would take too long. If you do have any contact with them, try to be polite but very cool, distant, don’t let them pull you back into the turmoil. Keep reading, studying, scattered through the comments you will find recommendations for various books and websites with good information. What is not usually mentioned is that, according to NIMH (that’s National Institute of Mental Health, in the U.S.) one out of every 4 people (U.S.) has some degree of mental illness or mental disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the percentage is one out of every 3 people. Also bear in mind that these problem people have been with us since the beginnings of recorded history. Cain murdered his brother Abel. Keep reading, studying, choose your friends carefully.

          Again, welcome, Peace and Hope from Elva

          1. Thank you Elva for your excellent thoughts.

            Just like as to the posts by J below, I find your points and advice very helpful and informative. I absolutely agree regarding the ups and downs as well – I do experience them almost daily.
            As for contacting my family, just to fill in the gaps: as you said very well, I won’t let them pull me back to the turmoil, even if this situation can sometimes be hurtful, too. I have exhausted all my energy, methods, approaches to handle my family members and now I gave it up for good. (If I decide something as final, it is so.)

            In one of the last emails declaring my no-contact to my mother I also told her that what she has been doing against me altogether is unforgivable and the time has come that she has to reap the consequences for what she (and the whole family) sowed. They have had their chance to listen to me, to hear my case, to at least attempt to be just and fair, to stop blaming and scapegoating me, to stop abusing me any further.

            I forgive my mother only in the sense that I wish her well, however that aside, I refuse to stay the toy she can use and abuse until the end of times. I also refuse to put my time and energy in handling, or even listening to her diversions, guilt trips, accusations, complaints, emotional blackmails, etc. She arranged for putting me out of my inheritance, and as said, she falsely accused me – hence the very minimum is that they should live without me supporting what they do against me. There has to be a limit for them to think of someone with a good heart as the stupid one to be endlessly exploited.

            (In my latest reply to J I posted some more details regarding the way my mother abused me.)

            You are very right about keeping reading and learning, I couldn’t agree more. In cases like ours truth and knowledge is what sets one free and leads to healing, and I am immensely grateful for it.

            If you – and J – need a listening ear as to your case, please feel free to share with me. Thank you and J so much for your attention regarding my story. I simply can’t thank you enough.

    2. Marianne’s question mustn’t drown.

      It’s dreadful and horrid that anyone would do such things to their own child, including, but obviously not Limited to scapegoating. Such lack of standards and your mother isn’t even the only one of her kind, which is dreadful in its own right.

      My experiences with unsavory characters were awful and they have been nothing compared to your mother and many others people have written about here, meaning I wish to never run into anyone like you describe. How phantasmagorically bloodspit-worthy, if I may say. Some scum raise their children to take hits, some neglect them, some raise them to be scum in their own right, but basically they’re doing what other scum like them has done before them and other scum do after them. How absolutely bloodspit-worthy. It’s wonderful that you got therapy, caught on to her game and severed ties with her. I hope you never meet anyone as despicable or even a fraction as despicable as her.

      Please keep coming here, Marianne. Folks here have their tales to tell. You aren’t alone.

      1. Hello J,
        What I wrote to Elva in above, I wish to repeat here for you as well: I am endlessly grateful for your welcoming, kind and supporting reply.

        You are absolutely right, it is dreadful to realise that cases like my mother’s are far from unique or rare. This behavior and way of life is something aggressive people teach to their children as well. I can see this clearly happening in the case of my siblings’ families. They find their aggressive, intrusive and manipulative behaviors the standard to live by, and think of me as the one who ‘deviates’ from the norm. My father sees me as an unfit person unworthy of his love, my sister referred to my thoughts as sick when I attempted to tell her the truth about my mother and about our abnormal family affairs. So I think the question that I am aiming at (it is just a vague thought) is how to establish an objective standard of human conduct and how to make it sort of public knowledge so that aggressive people, including the smooth operators/covert aggressors, would realize they are in the wrong in an objective sense? Or do they realize it anyway so it wouldn’t matter?

        I am asking this also because – as I recall conversations with my family members – in addition to the diversion, sidetracking and all logical fallacies they use, they go even further. For example when my mother threw lies at me, she often referred to her right to her own perspective as an equally valid aspect of the truth. It seems to me that the “relativist” popular way of thinking has done a huge damage via making all perspectives equal, thus rendering the many forms of abuse equally respectable with those of the objectively good, ie, moral, responsible, kind, sincere, open loving, caring, etc.

        I am very interested in your and everyone’s thoughts on this, and in your own stories in general. Again, my heartfelt gratitude for your welcoming words, also for your kind invitation to stay around: I certainly do plan to do so.
        Thank you,
        Marianne

        1. Hello again Marianne — stay strong, I have added your name to my daily prayers, that God will give you wisdom and strength to stay on the right track. My case is really old news, my egg donor was NPD, I disowned her in 1958, I’ve posted bits of my life in various places in the archives. But I remember a miserable childhood, I was kept afloat by having wonderful foster parents, and God has protected me all of my life. Keep reading through the archives here, ask questions, we understand because most of us have been where you are, and we know what it is like.

          I’d like to recommend a book to you which helped me greatly. It’s by Victoria Secunda, titled “When you and your mother can’t be friends.” If, like many of us you can’t afford to buy all the books you would like, you might check your local library. If they don’t have it, ask if they could get it for you through Interlibrary Loan. If you have questions, someone here will have answers. Peace and hope from Elva

          1. I post my reply here to your latest comment

            Elva, it is evident that your personal experience is very similar to mine and it is heartbreaking to realise that you go through the same as I do. I believe when it comes to abuse by aggressors, to each of us our own experience is the “worst”.

            Again you have pointed out another two central questions I have been wrestling with for ages now: the question of forgiveness and what to do with anger and other “negative” feelings.

            Incidentally, just saw a comment from “Helpless” from september 2014 – if only I could tell her as well as I tell you: I do believe in our right to give human response to the abuses we suffer. When I see innocent people struggling with the issue of not responding “properly” when being abused, my anger reaches its highest peaks. It is plain and ultimate injustice – and adds to the abuse – to expect abused people to respond to the abuse with a peaceful smile on their face. And it is everything but biblical. Let me explain.

            The negative feelings that good people harbor are there because negative people triggered it. It is THEIR responsibility not ours. In such light it is evident that righteous anger is not a negative feeling, it is just human. So anger can be a good thing, moreover sometimes it is the only good thing.

            To sin or err is human, to do evil isn’t. There is a huge difference between the two. Christ on the Cross said; “Father forgive them as they do not know what they do”. He forgave the fallen woman, the adulterers, the thieves even murderers.

            But aggressors do know what they do – there is the difference.
            Just look at Christ raging at the hypocrites in Matthew 23. Christ is NOT forgiving them: in no uncertain terms promises not less than hell for them. I believe in a just and fair God; hence I do not believe in the false image of an all-forgiving God, a fake concept that the aggressors and hypocrites created for us and for their benefits.

            Yet, I am not saying I wish hell for these folks. To decide on their fate, either in this or in any other world, is not my task or concern. My concern is my God-given right to my righteous anger towards the person who does intentional evil.
            If Christ had the right to rage against evil, so do we.

            “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?” (Shakespeare)

            In my view in such regard our main responsibility lies in avoiding to channel anger towards those who are NOT responsible for it, ie, to not become a bitter person in general (to stay loving towards our fellow humans) and especially to spare one’s spouse and children from our rage and bitterness.

            As for forgiveness, apparently I came to the same conclusion as you did, that the misunderstood biblical concepts are key in this regard. – I will look at excerpts from the NT you referred to – thank you so much.

            It is common sense and it is fully in harmony with the core concepts of the Bible that forgiveness is only deserved by those who really repent and profoundly regret the wrong they did. Forgiveness is dependent on the change it invokes, that is on the forgiven party’s willingness and ability to stop the abuse that he/she was forgiven for, whereas those who harbor evil intentions and manipulate others to achieve their own evil goals will never repent, never regret, never change – hence forgiveness is clearly not applicable in their case. My mother more than once admitted she will never change and claimed to be “forgiven” for what/who she is. One time yelled at me saying: “you will never ‘break’ me” – which she meant as she will never change).
            And there is one thing I will never forgive: intentional evil – if I would forgive that that alone would make me evil too.

            Again I need to finish my comment somewhere, so I stop here hoping that these ideas could offer some help to you and everyone who need to hear this.

            And last but not least, thank you so much Elva for your prayers, very much appreciated and reciprocated.
            Marianne

          2. Addendum to my longer reply below:
            I also went through a long period of immense amount of anger towards my mother until I reached the point that I just no longer feel anything for her, not even anger. (Pretty much like David at the ending of the movie “Shine”. )

            At present I wish my mother well just like I wish well everyone in general – it comes from who I really am and NOT from something my mother can claim. And my forgiveness or rather, peace towards her does not reflect the biblical command to forgive. In the strict sense of the word forgive I will never forgive my mother, exactly because it would be both irrational, unjust and unbiblical, as I explained below.

          3. Hello again Marianne — I’m so glad you have reached out again and made contact here. I couldn’t remember which article you had posted under. If I might suggest, when it seems appropriate to you, that you comment on the latest article up. It’s a bit easier for others to keep up with your comments and questions.

            First, I compliment you on your command of English, since you say it is not your first language. You write very well. And feel free to take the time you need to get your thoughts in order.

            You asked about my story, but with 74 years behind me, it would take way too long to tell all of it. I’ll just give a bit here. As already noted, I disowned my NPD egg donor when I was 18. I struggled for several years with the question of how much I owed her. I finally decided no, I did not owe her anything. Many years later I realized that I had given her the worst punishment of all for a narcissist — I ignored her. When I heard that she had died, about 12 or 13 years ago, my very first thought was “Good, she can’t muck up any more lives.”

            About biblegateway.com, the site has many Bible translations on line. There are forty plus English translations, plus every other language you can think of. So you can find a translation in your first language, then compare it to any other language you like. For English, my personal favorite is J.B. Phillips “The New Testament in Modern English” and for the Old Testament, I like the NIV (New International Version).

            I find that many difficult social situations can be reduced to simple principles and we can find instructions for how to handle such situations in the Bible. Of course, that presumes that the other people we must deal with are honest and honorable. You already know from bitter personal experience that not all people are honest and honorable. You have chosen the better road and God will honor your choice and help you on your way. Hold fast to your faith and principles; even here, some people will say “but consider this viewpoint” and try to sneak in non-Biblical ideas.

            If you want to read through the archives here (I recommend this) click on “Sitemap” at the top of the page, scroll down to Archives — they are in chronological order. If you find something of particular interest to you, make a physical note of the article date with pen and paper. That way you can easily find it again.

            Again, I welcome you and commend you for fighting your way through and past the abuse you have suffered. Peace and hope from Elva

          4. For many people Christianity works, it seems. Personally I’ve met more sensible Christians here than outside this site.

            Marianne, you’ve said: “when it comes to religion, I find the term “religious extremism” an oxymoron; an impossibility that has been invented by phony religious people (the hypocrites) and it is violently ridden by militant atheists. In my view both groups belong to the same common group of covert and overt aggressors – for the purpose of achieving evil goals by deceit and control.” Due to people like that I’ve long associated Christianity and the Cross with atrocities. Make that religion in general.

            Even though I’m an atheist, I still believe I can find my guidance through some means. You, Marianne, have found the kind of guidance that works the best for you and, consequently, it wouldn’t make sense to try another kind of guidance that’s not quite as fitting, so do keep living by with the kind of guidance that’s already worked out excellently. As for myself, I don’t know what kind of higher guidance I would end up finding.

      2. Marianne,

        I don’t have just one single point to make here. Still confident you can follow what I’m saying. I’m repeating many things both Dr Simon and other folks here have said.

        Aggressors, abusers, predators, manipulators, exploiters, bullies and emotional terrorists do realize full well not only what they are like, what kinds of beliefs they hold and how they are different from other people, but also what they’re doing, why and what could possibly follow, what other people would justifiably think about them doing it and why what they’re doing is wrong.

        I’m surprised that it’s an entire family that’s like your mother. I can’t tell from here, of course, but they seem to actually believe the kinds of things they spout – which may well be even worse. Sure, to be such an evil, conniving or irresponsible person one must have rather twisted beliefs to begin with. Some, however, actually believe some extremely warped stuff. Do they still have some sense of what others think like? I think so. Are these folks with such extreme beliefs truly unaware? Can’t be. Have they fallen in love with their pleasant lies? Maybe. It can even be truly delusional. They may have so bought into their own logical fallacies and false narratives. One might be tempted to think of such folks as misguided souls, but really they can be even more dangerous.

        It’s also possible for someone to have a CD and a genuine personality disorder.

        I’m not sure about how to establish “an objective standard of human conduct” that would help convince others, who really makes things problematic. Covert aggression isn’t obvious and objectively looking you may not find any evidence to support your gut instinct. Anything can be used covert-aggressively, even other types of manipulation and behavior that normally aren’t manipulative.

        Of course, character disturbance and “neurosis”, like everything in psychology, are on a continuum. It’s possible for a person to be fairly conscientious and not aggressive at all and still have some character shortcomings as well as it’s possible for a morally bereft person to have some conscience or other type of “neurotic” traits.

        Confusingly, it’s not uncommon for disturbed characters to also have SOME unconscious behaviors. Of course, it shows what someone’s character is like when they do become conscious.

        Insidiously, it’s even possible for someone to be more neurotic than CD and still be a covert-aggressive personality.

        She says “equally valid aspect of the truth”, but also demeans your point of view, making her hypocritical. While I can’t generalize this, perhaps deep down many such folks still prefer to think they know the best.

        1. Thank you J for your comprehensive and very informative reply.

          As a layperson as to the subject matter I have a limited knowledge on the topic and find it very difficult to follow every aspect of it, hence I may not be able to address all the sophisticated points you have made.

          If I understood your reasoning correctly I would agree as well that approaching the question through personality disorders would be insufficient to obtain an answer the question I have been tackling, since many of those who suffer from the abuse of aggressors/manipulators (CDs) do develop some sort of disorder due to the trauma, yet they themselves do not become aggressors.

          The first point I would make: in layman’s terms the way I see it, there seems to be a divide between those who exploit, deceive, manipulate, intimidate, etc the others, those who don’t, and those who fall victim to such abuses.

          The next, if I think it over, it becomes clearer that covert aggression is nothing but a more comprehensive term to describe LIARS, hence CD, whereas an overt aggressive person may not always indicate character disturbance.
          Since I can only talk from my own experience: I tend to forgive my father because he himself had a severely trauma- filled childhood (he had an abusive mother and grew up during WW2 and he suffered much from the war in every sense).
          My father then created a similar childhood for me: full of threats, fear, traumas, fear of abandonment, fear of death. But he didn’t try to manipulate me or deceive me. Though he hurt me immensely throughout my life, I do forgive him.

          In general the point is: one’s overt aggression may be due to unprocessed trauma from childhood; might be due to repressed anger and hurt of some other sort, might be due to personality disorder, yet may not necessary indicate bad intention.

          But when it comes to covert aggression, the picture seems entirely different. Then the intention is clearly there and premeditated: to do harm and achieve some sort of advantage via insidious ways. Agendas like those of the covert aggressors can’t be created without intention and design. Imo, the very thought of hiding the aims of the aggression hence making it into its covert forms, is the very essence of character disturbance. Intentionality to deceive is therefore an operating term in such cases, which remains essential even if the manipulator starts to ‘believe’ his own lies (deludes himself) – probably to ease his conscience, in the case if he has any. For such covert aggression (as I mentioned earlier) my mother is a textbook example. She is a Iago par excellence, to say the least. Now that is something that I find not only incredibly hurtful as it is coming from my own mother, but I find utterly and objectively unforgivable – where the great divide between normal and abnormal lies. What she has been doing comes down to intentional torture of a child via the abuse of the perfect power position. Consider these excerpts from Dr. Simon’s book:
          “Consider the incredible degree of power that a parent has over a young child. For many years, parents literally hold the power of life or death over their children. Yet, with gratefully few exceptions, most parents wield this power with an incredible degree of trepidation and cautiousness. If merely having the power were itself corrupting, none of our children would have a chance.”

          Now, I was THAT CHILD. And I have been an adult under the same sort of ongoing mental and emotional abuse by my mother.
          The effects of such abuse I can’t even start to describe. I find it a sheer miracle that I survived at all and remained sane. (I am a believer of God – I am a Christian.)

          She uses all methods of covert aggression, which astonished me as I went through those methods in Dr Simon’s book. She used flattering when called me good, when I blindly obeyed her, she praised me that I was intelligent when I acted according what she wanted, I was beautiful when I allowed her to cut my hair, etc. Then when I tried to disobey, she used intimidation, guilt tripping and all the rest of it, to keep me on chains. She continued this also when I was an adult. She denied my right to start my own life with someone. My mother wanted me to stay her personal pet for my whole life, like her “spouse” of some sort to replace my father (their marriage is a disaster). Now here comes the heart of the matter: my mother and her enablers are convinced that my mother’s such expectations from me constitute the norm. They claim that she loved me, and find my “disobediance” = independent life, evil, so I am her evil daughter. In such regard the question: who is right or wrong in an objective sense. I believe I am, as I claim my right to my own life rather than be a servant of my abusive parents and siblings.

          And who is going to make justice against my mother’s slander? Who is going to tell my mother that her expectations make her a narcissistic/toxic parent who has used covert aggression to achieve her unholy goals? Because I begged her to come with me to the therapist, but she consistently refused.

          In addition, my mother not only against me uses her covert techniques. She manipulates her environment to the degree that in my family’s case the exception became the majority due to the fact that my mother manipulates her environment to the degree that she made everyone a parrot of herself. On the occasions when I tried to approach some of my family members with my peace offer, when they rejected me they used the exact phrases and expressions, in fact literally the same fallacies that I heard from my mother.

          The other reason why the whole family teamed up against me is because it would be too hurtful for them to face the truth regarding the bad marriage of my parents and the manipulative, hypocrite nature of my mother. What my mother did against me was child abuse on many levels, actually to the degree of emotional incest. In order to brainwash me, she used constant gaslighting, humiliation, silent treatments, she blackmailed me via threats of withdrawing her love, destroyed my self-confidence by saying: “no one will love you, only I”, she educated me utterly dependent then my father called me unfit and invalidated me due to the results of my mother’s education. My mother conditioned me to be her confidant, best friend, her ally against my father and I was trained to adore her as if she was my ‘lover’ of some sort.

          So in order to cover up the LIE that my parents are fantastic that ours is a great family and to delude themselves that my mother is a sort of saint and a fantastic mother, everyone turned against me. I am the whistle-blower and truth-teller, the witness of who my mother really is, I am the one who wanted a functional family rather than one with all these dysfunctions – hence everyone else assists my mother in scapegoating me and to transfer their own crimes onto me.

          I need to stop somewhere so I do so here, hoping this made some sense and I could address some of the points you made.
          Again, thank you for your outstanding analysis, it helped me to see much clearer.

          1. Hello again Marianne — You seem to have made enormous progress in realizing just how badly dysfunctional your family is. I too am a Christian. I read and re-read the books of Romans and Ephesians. I find that those 2 books, for me, show great wisdom in how to get along with other people. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, “But she’s your mother, how could you say such things?” when the truth is, she did not nurture you as she should have. There are several similarities when I compare my history to yours, but you’ve had it so much worse. If you are interested, you might visit biblegateway.com — many translations available at a mouseclick.
            For those who say “Forgive and move on,” the Bible says very clearly that to be forgiven, a person must repent, confess, and ask for forgiveness then may be forgiven. It is very detrimental to your own health if you harbor ill feelings. I finally asked God to take the negative feelings in my mind away, since I didn’t have the strength to drop them. He did just that for me, because I asked in humility. It’s been a long journey for me, as it may be for you. If you continue to come here, you will find friends. Peace and hope from Elva

          2. Marianne,

            Simply repeating what I’ve read Dr Simon and other commenters say here.

            That others believe something so wrong is normal is distasteful in its own right. Condemning you for wanting what’s actually better for you and not what others say is better for you is something that needs to be seen for what it is. Apparently witnesses aren’t appreciated. That they demean you for wanting an independent life healthier than their bull**** is not okay.

            It’s unfortunate when an environment encourages to act in a dysfunctional way and discourages or even condemns doing what actually makes sense.

            Believing one’s own lies may be to soothe any scrap of possible conscience like you suggest. I agree. I, however, have gotten the impression that believing one’s own lies can as well be 1)the logical conclusion of that old devil “thinking makes it so” -thinking, in other words “I think so, it’s automatically true” 2)falling in love with one’s own pleasant lies 3)the result of a CD also having brain chemistry malfunction.

            What’s important is that you’re out and refuse contact. You’re right to refuse to listen to what you’ve heard too much to begin with. Actually, even a little bit of that bull**** is too much.

            Many here have the same symbol of faith as you have, Marianne. You found folks with more similarities than you first thought. 🙂

            I’m not a Christian myself, but Judas Syndrome and a few other books have helped me understand what all this faith really is about.

            I have talked about some encounters with CDs here and there. If a good seam comes or you ask me outright, I sure can tell.

            Thanks for coming here.

          3. Hi Marianne, I read your post and am so sorry for all that you have had to endure and wanted to say thank you for sharing. I am somewhat new to this forum too. I just wanted to say “Welcome” and hope you stay for awhile. My faith as a Christian and prayer has sustained me. I am glad you found your strength there too. Blessings

        2. Marianne,

          Like Elva said, there are many book and website recommendations scattered throughout this site.

          If you allow me to save you some trouble, here are some that I have recommended and some that others have recommended(which I haven’t personally read):

          *Bully in Sight; Tim Field

          **The late Tim Field also created the website bullyonline.com, which goes into great detail about bullying, bullies and other involved factors.

          *Stalking the Soul; Marie-France Hirigoyen

          *Emotional Rape Syndrome; Michael J. Fox

          *Verbally Abusive Relationshi; Patricia Evans

          *books about psychopaths like Without Conscience by Robert Hare, Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout and Woman, who love psychopaths by Sandra Brown

          *Gift of Fear; Gavin D. Becker

          As for books that don’t directly relate to Dr Simon’s model, but do clarify human psychology a lot:

          *Games People Play; Eric Berne

          *Influence; Robert Cialdini

          *Vital Lies, Simple Truths; Daniel Goleman

          *Power of Story; Jim Loehr

          *Dinosaur Brains; Albert Bernstein

          **Bernstein also has some other books, Emotional Vampires and Emotional Vampires at Work, which handle different kinds of people with different kinds of patterns, who must seem pretty obvious compared to covert aggressors yet are nonetheless very enticing and equally as draining.

          *Emotional Blackmail; Susan Forward

          If you feel like learning about insidious mind control is timely for you, there are Cults in our midst by Margaret Thaler Singer and Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan. About sites, there is caic.org.au/. The .au/ part is necessary, because otherwise you find yourself looking for career advice. However, under any circumstances, please DON’T GO to Cult Awareness Network(CAN). If you Google it, look a bit further, okay?

          Then there’s suggestibility.org, by Joe Kellett, a former teacher in the Transcendental Meditation -cult. While practicing TM alone, with ANY word that doesn’t spark specific trains of thought, can work just like other forms of meditation, the organization that “sells” TM for higher and higher prices is a cult that uses TM to induce hypnotic trances and brainwash. On his site Kellett talks about mental reservation(withholding crucial information) and trance induction, among other things.

          One very good site is by Marc MacYoung, nononsenseselfdefense.com.

          You’re welcome. 🙂

          1. I am so very pleased to have found this site and to have this conversation with you and Elva.

            In your latest replies both of you raised some more great points again – I find all your insights and advice very helpful.

            The list of reading that you provided above is stunning. Though at university I received basic education on psychology, on this sub-topic my reading has been limited to Dr. Simon’s “In Sheep’s Clothing”, Susan Forward’s “Toxic Parents”, Alice Miller’s The Gifted Child and McBride’s “Will I ever be good enough”.

            In addition I visited blogs on related topics. Your list of books appears really profound and comprehensive, thank you so much for it.

            I see myself as a rational religious person, and not so naive as I used to be, but I do see your point trying to warn of the dangers of cults. I have recently watched a documentary about narcissism as a social phenomenon/menace; the characters displayed there are on the extreme on the scale – psychopaths – and one of the example shown there was a cult leader. (The film’s title is “Egomania” – it has been quite heavy to watch)

            To get rid of naivety and become a better judge of character is another huge advantage of enlightening books like Dr. Simon’s – it can save many from experiences of that kind.

            On a side note, I may be a little overly cautious but in my view TM in itself even if practised in safe environment can be dangerous too (for reasons I can’t elaborate here) – at least I think so on the basis of Jung’s stance in this regard.

            On another side note, when it comes to religion, I find the term “religious extremism” an oxymoron; an impossibility that has been invented by phony religious people (the hypocrites) and it is violently ridden by militant atheists. In my view both groups belong to the same common group of covert and overt aggressors – for the purpose of achieving evil goals by deceit and control.

            I apologise if I don’t respond right away. There is so much more to say but I am very slow at writing and collecting my thoughts – partly because English is not my first language, as I am sure it is evident from my mistakes 🙂

            Wishing you a great day,
            Marianne

          2. I haven’t perceived any mistakes in your writing.

            It makes sense that many people, who claim to be acting in the name of religion, really are about something else entirely.

            Can we say someone is spiritually dead, so to speak? That could be another discussion in itself.

            I also find this bit very interesting. “On a side note, I may be a little overly cautious, but in my view TM in itself even if practised in safe environment can be dangerous too (for reasons I can’t elaborate here) – at least I think so on the basis of Jung’s stance in this regard.” I find it interesting, because I have also mentioned Jung many times in regards to psychological conversations.

            I have also mentioned TM, trying to be as balanced as possible by presenting how it can be dangerous and how some poeple have experienced it as helpful. I’ve myself tried TM alone and haven’t experienced any problems so far. I do try other kinds of meditation as well(including mindfulness) and I do believe that some people have gotten adverse effects from TM while some haven’t.

            Have you been reading around, Marianne?

          3. Marianne,

            Personally I want to believe that each and every one of us has our own unique purpose to discover and manifest in the world, no matter what faith system. Don’t Christians, too?

  52. I’m a woman (50 yrs) in love with a man (60 yrs) who witnessed & experienced horrible manipulation and abuse at the hands of his Puerto Rican mother (80 yrs living in USA for 60 yrs never learned to speak the language). Sadly, he still lives with her using the excuse that he is her caregiver, but this is hardly the case. He comes from a very dysfunctional background that I feel has caused many of his employment and relationship problems even as we speak. I’m going to try to make this short and to the point. I don’t want to leave him, I would like him to get help, counseling, I want him to heal; I know it doesn’t matter what I want if he can’t see it, but please give me some advise after reading this.

    His 55yr old sister and 45yr old brother both got counseling 15 to 20 yrs ago, and have gone onto lead fairly healthy relationships with others especially significant others.

    His sister told me that their parents use to fight and argue all the time; they witnessed it. It was ugly, blood, cursing, infidelity – nothing good. When their father would try to leave, their mother would slam her hands in the door, breaking skin, raw white knuckle injuries; take her other hand and scratch herself then run outside to the precinct and have their father arrested. They witnessed this.

    When their parents divorced, both not even teens yet, the mother married their father’s friend who molested the sister and younger brother and beat the mother all the time; they witnessed this. My guy was probably molested to but he has never admitted it like his siblings. The sister told me that once she was sleeping on her mom’s bed and her mother came in and had sex right on the bed with the new husband. This guy used his other hand to fondle the sister while he was having sex with the mom. She told me she knew that her mother knew what he was doing but she didn’t do anything to stop him, and then the molestation began and continued for ten years until she was 18 and she married to get away from it all.

    The sister told me that there were days that they came home from school & the mother would tell them they’re moving & give them little plastic bag to gather some things and just like that they would leave – everything else. She even did this tactic taking them from NYC back to PR and then back to NYC, and many times in NYC, all while they were still young children.

    After they graduated high school (the brother and sister, my guy did not, he attempted to complete in the army but not sure if he did), the sister said that they would often get ready to go out with friends & do things young adults do (by this time the step father is gone my guy at 17 threatened to hurt him if he did not leave) and the mother would fall out on the floor acting like she was dying or having some serious illness in an attempt to keep them at home with her, going so far as to even call ambulance. The sister told me once she figured out what the mom was doing she would step right over her and go out with her friends anyway, but my guy would cry, get upset, be concerned for his mother, and to this day she and he still carry on in this manner, only now the mom does have asthma, diabetes, & deeper mental issues – they both do.

    My guy did move out & attempt at creating a family with another woman (they have a daughter together) when he was in his 30s; his sister said because the mother did not like the woman whom he planned to marry & refused to go to the wedding he refused to get married. He had several great jobs with 3 federal agencies and got fired from them all. Things got tough financially with his woman; he left and moved home with his abusive mama.

    Since that time he has had several/many girlfriends no marriage or engagement, he doesn’t believe in traditional girlfriend boyfriend policies as he calls it. He refuses to even move in with any woman; he comes and goes with a little small backpack enough room for underwear & a tshirt or two; a day ot two with the current women then home to mama for a day or two – back and forth like this. His financial situation is not great; he’s a broker/real estate agent but refuses to work more than the borough he lives in (no car), doesn’t pay bills at mom or with any woman, doesn’t buy goods for the home; the money he does make he pinches in use primarily for self. He does take me out & spends on me but not weekly. Things are looking better recently; he’s had more rentals.

    I’ve been with him three years; he’s left me four times because he refuses to communicate, gets upset at the least of thngs he doesn’t agree with, raises his voice, gets nasty & vengeful & hurtful with his words and actions, doesn’t try to work out anything, runs & hides in his closet/room at his maama’s, won’t take my call or call for days or weeks, tells his mama not to answer her home phone if i call – she believes all his lies about what happened – I’m to blame for everything – her son can do no wrong. His sister tells me what he tells his mom & what the mom says about me. I’m supposedly crazy, bipolar because I ask him for us to start saving & become more accountable for dreams we have talked about. I don’t know how to just let things be, I’m looking for something wrong, why can’t I just be happy & live in the moment, we can’t plan for the future because we need to live in the moment.

    During his run to mama episodes, he runs to social media and starts posting; we have mutual friends and attends a lot of creative events around these people together all the time. They know he talking about us, so do I even though he doesn’t use our names or direct it toward me.

    I’m so hurt, deeply. I feel betrayed completely, I’m grieving again & again. I am inlove also, I am alone, I want the relationship because we have many good things between us too. I have asked him to go to counseling, his sister has asked, he refuses says he’s living higher than humans. He is spiritual and could be a really wonderful guy, and appears that way at first, but he has so many issues. I want to help him, although I’m not sure if I should put myself through it. He refuses to conform to anything traditional what he called domestication. I’m at a lost & hurting. Please help, please advise.

    Thank you.

    1. Hello Wings — Welcome — at 60 years old, I doubt whether he is going to change. I think that if you continue with this relationship, you will be letting yourself in for years of hurt and pain. Since his mother has already shown herself to be conniving, lying, willing to actually hurt herself and then accuse someone else of that kind of battery, you would in essence be fighting her for possession of her son, for the rest of your life together. You can’t fix him, he is the only one who can make the decision that he needs to change. I am so sorry that you are in such a horrible situation. I think that many of the other regular readers and posters will probably echo what I am telling you. I wish you well, this is a safe place to come and vent when you think you’re going nuts, or you are hurting and just need to connect with others who know what you are feeling, many of us have been in similar situations. I wish that you can find some peace and hope for a better life.

    2. Wings, You came to this site looking for answers and I understand your need to make sense of the situation. You sound deeply confused, and I am sure you are clearly lost and hurting. If I may, please try to step outside of your situation. If you read the above post, and lets say her name is Mary, what would you think. What advice would you give her? A hard thing to accept is you cannot change anyone, you can only change yourself. It sounds like you have just begun your journey. You will find no answers on this site as to how lets say FIX HIM. That is who he is and until he decides to change, things will only get worse.

      I would recommend you purchase all 3 of Dr. Simons books and read as much as you can on the subject. This is a good site to be on, Dr. Simon is highly respected in his profession on the work he has done relating to the (CD)character disordered. There are a lot of good people on this site who have shared their life experiences in dealing with the CD in their lives. You will find we are at many different stages in the healing process and for you it sounds like the beginning. If you choose to stay, you will find support, understanding and kindness and as one poster always says, peace and hope.

      Be good to yourself, Wings, you deserve way more than the tidbits the man you speak about gives you. Maybe, once in awhile he may give you a juicy bone, just enough to string you along.
      I tried so very hard to find an answer as to how I could fix or change the CD’s in my life to no avail. I found I could only change myself. My heart goes out to you and hope you find your way. Gods blessing and may he heal your pain.

    3. Hi Wings and welcome, I think that it is important to know that a “relationship” with one of these losers is very addictive and if you continue to do your homework you will read this else where right now you are bonded with this person on many levels, including chemically. I strongly suggest that you take at least three months away from the situation, 100% no contact, ang get your feet underneath yourself, continue to read about disordered manipulators and then reasses this person and your desire to be with him. I can almost guarantee you will gain a different perspective if you commit to it fully. Other wise I would bet that this situation will play out the way they normally do, you will leave after you have reached a breaking point or he will discard and replace you with as much concern as he would have flushing a toilet. If he was interested in helping himself, he would already be doing so.
      I’m sorry if what I am saying is harsh, it’s not meant to be hurtful. The truth in these cases is not pretty and it’s very painful to swallow but if he is the type that your description paints him as, there is very little hope that he will ever be anything other than what he is no mater what got him there. I wish you the best and you are welcome here. Please keep reading.

      1. Hello Marianne, Again, welcome, I only speak for myself but have found the majority of all who have been blessed to find Dr. Simons site and I understand you have read his books respect Dr. Simons work. I believe the majority of us have come to Dr. Simons site because we feel safe in sharing our life experience in the hope of finding, understanding, healing and genuine support in dealing with the CD in our lives. At the same time our sharing not only helps us, but our fellow brothers and sisters on a similar journey. There are people who stay for a moment and others who stay for a long time. If you decide to stay it is obvious you have the discernment to get a feel for where we are all at on our personal journeys. At the same time you will find people who truly share and have experienced like pain and others who express pain, but haven’t the foggiest. Your story, is profound and I admire your courage and strength. Dr. Simon has posted a continuation of this thread progressing to the next step. The entry on the Sitemap should be for 4/11/12. Please read the post and add any thoughts you may have. From reading your post you have so much to offer. Yes, this thread has become somewhat unwieldy, I encourage you to post on the next thread, there we all can resume the conversation and participate in the work Dr. Simon is promoting. Marianne, there are a lot of like minded, God fearing, caring, loving people, and yes, you can finds friends on this site, the Lord has his ways. You will know them by their fruit. Thank you so much for sharing and if I may, I’ll look forward to your posts. To all, Gods blessings.

        1. Hi again Marianne, Just wanted to say I believe we both speak the same language. I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned, Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people. I looked and the latest thread Dr. Simon posted is on Cognitive Therapy Part 2. I’m sure you can add so much, you articulate very well, you seem to have surpassed and found ways to live well beyond and outside of the box the CD’s would like you to exist in. I divorced the CD’s in my life I just don’t have a formal document. Blessings

          1. BTOV,
            I just found your comments addressed to me, wow – THANK YOU! I can only repeat that I posted elsewhere – I am so very thankful for your welcoming and caring replies.
            Yes I do intend to stay around, although I may not post daily due to my time limits. For the same reason, I fear I have missed some comments addressed to me and may miss some more later, as I am not online on a regular basis. I do apologise if I left or leave a message without response – it is not intended to. And I will do my best to respond to everyone in more detail on the new thread.

            For now I just want to wish you too God’s blessings and guidance, BTOV, and thank you again for your wonderful message, support and advice,
            Marianne

        2. “At the same time you will find people who truly share and have experienced like pain and others who express pain, but haven’t the foggiest.” Excuse me, I find your phrasing a bit off. What do you mean?

          1. Hi Marianne, I am so glad you will visit and stay in the new post by DR Simon. I too, have much to do and am very behind. I have many thoughts about your post and would like to talk more. I come from a family of N too and many of the issues and questions you have brought up have haunted me and I am still looking for answers. I have more sites and reading for you too, the resource mentioned is only the tip of the iceberg that I have and recently, I have had the pleasure to meet someone else that has enormous resources. . Very familiar with Millers work. You have brought up many points that I have thought too, and have gone somewhat gone unanswered. I know what you are talking about, Marianne, if you stay you will find fellowship here, it is like we are taught, their are the nominal and the core and we have to sometimes search them out. You will know them by their fruit. Being from another country, your command of the English language far surpasses mine and I was born here. Take very good care, kindred spirit. God bless you and be safe.

          2. Hey, BTOV,

            your post seems to answer to mine, but I can’t find anything specifically directed to me. 😀 Haha.

            Or did I miss something?

        3. BTOV, if you are refering to what he said, I understand. It’s a pity if you don’t believe my experiences(I haven’t personally dated a CD or been in an intimate relationship with one). Is that what you’re refering to?

  53. @J
    I admit that I got lost on this page and I’m not sure how to pick up our conversation, so I just respond here to some points of your latest replies.

    Just to clarify this point: when I referred to militant atheists I didn’t mean to say that all atheists are militant – on the contrary! (I apologise if I didn’t make this obvious) The atheists I personally know, are all honest, decent and kind people. I merely referred to the particular bad apples among the atheists who exploit, kill and colonize other under “religious” slogans and blame the troubles they stir onto the real religious folk.

    I made that remark as sometimes the frustration gets the better of me when I think of the usual fallacies used against Christianity with reference to those who have nothing to do with Christianity. The crusaders didn’t and don’t invade new lands to spread their faith, but for economical reasons: to colonise, to grab lands and resources and to gain control. The gay-basher “Christians” are also after soul-control, thus for power, in their own ways. Inquisition and all extreme distortions of religion are also only for power, greed and control, and my point there was merely to indicate that these particular sort of aggressors seem to belong as well to the covert aggressive type.

    On another point:
    You wrote:
    “Personally I want to believe that each and every one of us has our own unique purpose to discover and manifest in the world, no matter what faith system. Don’t Christians, too?”

    I can’t talk for all Christians, but as for me, it seems logical to think of one’s own worldview as the truth and those who contradict that worldview as false. This of course does not imply intolerance, on the contrary. Each of us has our free will, our freedom to choose our way of thinking and acting, hence each of us will face the consequence according to how we have used or misused our free will.

    I am not sure how you mean the “purpose”. Sounds like predestination, but that would assume a higher being and predestination would contradict free will, hence would contradict free choice. And I do believe in free will.

    If I misunderstood what/how you meant your question, please let me know.

    1. Make no mistake, Marianne.

      Commenters here are great. I first came here among a few other sites. In my typing there was the same problem that had become very apparent in the begnning of a folk college year of creative writing. My writing was stilted, due to me not having written a lot in my spare time, and I felt I need some more interaction with people. Why not also on the Internet? It was in the middle of that year when I discovered this site. What I’ve noticed is that my writing has improved. That’s NOT an excuse for anything. It did make sense in that I had met some nasty people myself and of course wanted(and want) to deepen my understanding.

      Then again, it’s not what each and every one says, but what comes out that indicates what someone believes.

      What I feel I can say about what we’ve been speaking of is this:

      You say: “[I]t seems logical to think of one’s own worldview as the truth and those who contradict that worldview as false. This of course does not imply intolerance, on the contrary. Each of us has our free will, our freedom to choose our way of thinking and acting, hence each of us will face the consequence according to how we have used or misused our free will.”

      What I find that to imply(or rather, in large part, what I reason and process that to mean) is that just because a bunch of people believe in the same form of principles and guidance* doesn’t mean they are all the same. People have different callings that have many similar elements and they make these callings come to life in many different ways.

      *I am presupposing that deep down their faith is true and strong.

      A calling or a purpose, as far as I’ve understood, is something that’s developed and refined by constant self-improvement(that in itself isn’t easy), meditating on different matters of life in general, examining own thinking, feelings, beliefs and stories, discovering one’s inclinations(whether they’re about discovering the workings of human mind or mysteries of the universe, for instance) and self-discipline. I believe we all have our own kind of driving force in us, even if it needs unearthing, searching and discovering. I don’t know how this sounds to you, then.

    2. Marianne, Welcome! Thank you for explaining your thought processes and religious beliefs in a gentle way. You haven’t undermined or offended anybody in the process. This takes some skill!

      About your mother…it’s very sad and I am so sorry for you. A mother’s unconditional and protective love is so primary to our sense of self and the world. You are doing very well, to have discovered the dynamics behind your mothers attitude towards you and then moved on to acceptance. It takes a long time, but you did it! I hope you have some measure of peace and contentment and don’t pine for what never was. It’s a terrible thing to have loved someone so much and then discover the cord that bonded was strong at your end but frayed and twisted at your mother’s end.

      Words can’t express. Such sorrow. To have to cultivate indifference to survive these types….awful.

      1. Hello Lisa,
        How wonderful and heartwarming to read your message. Your compassionate, empathic and encouraging words are like balm to the soul – thank you so very much. You understand so precisely what I have been through – like Elva understands – that I fear you have had to suffer experiences very similar as we have. Please let me know more about your story – in case you feel like sharing with me, of course.

        As you also noted so emphatically, even though there is understanding on the conscious level, on the emotional level there is still the pain and sorrow. When I think of the turmoil of losing a parent the way I have, I often recall this part of the movie “Beautiful Mind”: Dr. Rosen: “Imagine if you suddenly learned that the people, the places, the moments most important to you were not gone, not dead, but worse, had never been. What kind of hell would that be?”

        If I apply above to my case, it is the hell of realizing that I only imagined my parents to be the way I saw them – in fact they have been entirely different, I just didn’t have the strength and courage to see as they really are.

        Thank you again Lisa for your welcoming, supporting and comforting words. I am very glad that I didn’t offend anyone through my rants here – my intention is the contrary, I hope that my comments could be of help in some way.

        1. Hi Marianne,

          You are so welcome! I’ve come through some very trying times, for sure. Difficult for me to recount it all. I had therapy for a couple of years; treatment for PTSD that helped with foo childhood adolescent problems. I have to say, though, as difficult as my family was, I didn’t have the same mind bending problems, dealing with manipulation from a parent, as you did.

          I did go through a targeting by a psychopath, though, while I was in therapy, about eight years ago. He created an artificial reality, complete with all kinds of suggestions, help, spiritual guidance, protestations of deep love — that turned out to be utterly false. He was a casual friend for 7 years and honed in on me only after he caught a whiff of vulnerability. I apply the understanding of Dr.Rosen’s to that situation. From there I understand what you must have gone through with your parents. Much tougher than my own experience.

  54. @Elva

    Hello Elva,
    Thank you so much for your latest reply as well – I apologise for my late response; it is simply due to my limited time and it did take me a while to refind your latest post addressed to me. (I can’t be sure if I have found all of them)

    Here I respond to your reply starting with
    “Hello again Marianne — I’m so glad you have reached out again and made contact here.”

    Before I start, just to clarify this: by mistake I referred to a “longer reply below”; I should have written “above” since that longer reply is above the “addendum” . From your latest reply I infer that you have read my said longer post, but in case you haven’t, I posted it on apr 11 and it starts with: “I post my reply here to your latest comment Elva, it is evident that your personal experience is very similar to mine”

    I hope it’s okay that I am still adding a comment on this page, hoping you will find it. Following your advice, next I will check out the recent blog entries and will continue there.

    Elva, thank you so much for your so very kind and empowering words, and for your sharing with me more details of your path.

    It is incredibly heartbreaking to even imagine what you have been through, let alone living it. Readdressing this thought we touched upon earlier: if it’s possible to establish a “rank” in experiences like ours, I believe yours is far worse than mine. In my case at least I had a life of “dream” on a sort of la-la land whereby I have been spared by the benevolent effects of cognitive dissonance, whereas you have had to go through your all adult life by already having made that incredibly soul-wrecking choice: to disown your very own mother – a decision which I only recently arrived at, barely over fifty. The fact that I still call my mother my mother, is not because she deserved that title; it is merely a token of how much I loved and respected her until recently, both as a child and as an adult. It also reflects the dilemma and turmoil that is still under the surface.

    Even though the choice to finally cut all ties and all contact with her/them wasn’t really a choice, as my mother and my family pushed me into it, yet it is a sort of pain I can’t describe in any other way than unbearable. (Since I cut off ties with her I developed symptoms of depression and PTSD, yet I don’t regret my decision and will never change my mind)

    It’s just hard to express how sorry I am for what you have endured and how much I admire your spiritual strength and your determination to keep on this thorny path. I also admire your mental power that enabled you to educate yourself on this subject matter, and learned to avoid the false religious teachings and philosophical traps this path is paved with. It has been my experience that when it comes to parent-child problems, even the secular society tends to blame the child.
    I also realise that there might be many cases when the child is problematic and manipulative, but even then the question presists: who educated that child? Wasn’t it the parent? Education goes much further than words: real education resides in the parents’ THOUGHTS, EMOTIONS and BEHAVIORS.
    Whatever the child manifests now has been inherited or learned from their parents.
    How can all these be assumed the fault of a child? If a child is manipulative (I never have been) is because his parents are that way. If a child is narcissistic is because his parents are that way. yes, there is the society teaching our kids for the worst. In our insane culture narcissism is a must to be acquired by peer pressure, rather than a reason to be ashamed for.

    So even if parents formulate some reason to blame their children for either alleged or real reasons, their expectations just don’t make any sense and unjust to no end. It all comes back to the sole obligation of parents towards someone they brought to this broken and cold world: their unconditional love and full support to their children, no matter what and with no exception.

    The majority however tend to do the opposite, blame the offspring rather than the parent. The majority – luckily for them – have no idea what it means to be abused and betrayed by one’s own parent, how to inflict the ultimate loneliness onto someone they would owe unconditional support and nurture. The majority don’t know because it didn’t happen to them and they themselves won’t betray their own children – so they formulate their hasty judgments upon their own experience, upon taboos beholding all parents as “saints”, thus they find reasons to blame the adult children for dysfunctional parent-child relationships.
    This is not only incredibly hurtful and unjust but hinders the development and independence of the abused and now adult child. I know from experience.

    To conform the societal expectations that behold parents as the infallible ones, I have wasted most of my whole adult life trying to change my parents and to earn their love for me, while they were just sitting back, laughing at my constant struggle.

    These ramblings of mine now lead back to my original question, which I probably raised to somehow get the message through: if only society would stop blaming victims like us and would stop adding to the hurt and isolation we have had to suffer in lack of supporting parents and family.

    Thank you Elva for your practical advice to get around on this site, and for compliments re my English (am blushing), you are so very kind. The loving kindness, comforting support and helpful wisdom like yours, and of those I have been contacting on this page, have been like an oasis to me.
    I do hope though these ramblings I posted here won’t offend anyone as I didn’t intend to.

    1. Hi Marianne — Thank you for all your comments and compliments, though I don’t think I deserve all of them. As with you, my time today is limited, so I will keep this brief and give you a longer reply later. Now that you know what narcissism is, you will find many more of them around as you weigh people’s words and actions. For further reading, I suggest that you take a look at narcissists-suck.blogspot.com. As you have time, read through her back archives. It will give you a much wider overview of how they operate. The writer is exceptionally good. Another book I recently bought for myself is by Joe Navarro. The title is “Dangerous personalities: An FBI profiler shows you how to protect yourself from harmful people.” It’s very good.

      For keeping current, you can post on the latest article. What you do is say something like “This is off the current topic, but __________” and then add whatever you need to identify what you’d like to discuss, or add a name, if you want to respond to someone else’s post.

      Again, I urge you to weigh what people say against what the Bible tells you is truth. Hold fast to your faith, God will sustain you through all trials and tribulations. Peace and hope from Elva

  55. @J,

    In your latest replies you elaborated on many subtopics and I am not quite certain which one of them is your central concern or question (?).
    In order to show you my perspective on this: I am struggling to understand why all these troubles should be my concern and what is the point of this discussion. (I meant “troubled” in such sense and I didn’t mean to offend by it either.)

    You don’t need to defend yourself in front of me, J, since you didn’t offend me. Or are you trying to warn me of something/someone, asking for advice, giving me advice or asking some questions?

    In case you are trying to help me in some way, I am very thankful for your concern, but please give me some credit on this. I acquired the rockiest way – via practicing on my own mother- to sort it out for myself if I am mistreated. If I recognize that in a situation someone treats me in an abusive / manipulative way, either online or in my physical environment, I simply ignore that person and move on. If I was capable to do just that with my own mother, then I suppose I can certainly do the same with strangers – and this is the best advice I can give you or anyone in this regard.

    It is safe to say that I have had my fair share of fight in this life – I always hated it and never ignited/instigated it – and it is probably understandable that the very last purpose I am here for is to continue fighting here.

    I have noticed that whenever someone confesses to be a Christian that alone can ignite a fight. While atheists are loudly advocate that we all have our individual purpose, actually they dictate the terms for everyone by proclaiming that their individual purpose is what everyone’s purpose should be. Worse yet many atheists find the existence of Christian faith a personal offence against them, whereas when atheists state their worldview.

    If this is the reason behind your defensiveness, J, I find it important to emphasize that when I made that remark about how religion is misused by covert aggressors for their selfish agendas, my aim is not and was not to start/continue a religious debate on these pages. The logical errors in the arguments against religion are simply overwhelming.
    The bottom line is this: the misuse of a system by some is NOT the reason to get rid of that system. By the same token, ever since the nuclear bombs were dropped onto Japan, mankind should have stopped science and technology altogether, since science has made that bomb possible. Another example: just because many parents abuse their children and the number of dysfunctional families/divorces is staggering, it doesn’t mean we should consider marriages, parenting and families evil. And I could continue the list.

    As for religion or atheism, I do not intend to attempt to ‘convert’ others, and likewise, I don’t intend to expose myself to any attempts to be drawn into another belief system. As to my faith and worldview I am profoundly settled.

    Just to explain briefly where I am coming from:
    Though I was raised as a Christian, at the age of 18 I turned away from my faith (or at least I tried), upon the influence of false teachings – in fact “academic” lies – regarding Darwin’s claims re evolution, upon peer pressure and other effects claiming that the “rational world view” is necessarily a sort of atheism (later I learned that the exact opposite is true) and upon the effects of already seeing the signs of my parents’ hypocrisy masked as religious faith. Then in my thirties, without any outside influence, I refound my faith at a much higher level, not only through the core concepts of the Bible – which then were shining like diamonds of truth but also by inner revelations. Later on, after I researched philosophy of science and religion, my faith has been further reinforced by learning about some stunning scientific facts that all point at a Creator – an immaterial eternal consciousness – beyond space, time and matter. The very life, miracles and resurrection of Christ are historically proven facts as well.

    But even more importantly, if one reads the Gospels carefully, it becomes clear that the way the concept of goodness – objective morality par excellence – is defined in the Gospels, is just pure and absolute perfection.
    As Lewis Carroll puts it (something like this): “I believe in Christ as I believe in the Sun. I can see it and I see everything by it.”

    To me my faith in Christ has even more dimensions. The bottom line is just this: if my parents were real Christians, they would have loved each other, they would have loved me as well and nurtured me as real parents, and I wouldn’t have gone through the abuses I have had to. The extension of above is true for the world: if all would follow Christ’s teachings this world would be a heaven on earth, as it was supposed to be. Whereas the wide plethora of different/relativist personal moral systems – including those of militant atheists like Hitler and Stalin, and their current variants (aka the rulers of the world) – will eventually make humankind extinct, quite soon actually.

    So again, without trying to proselytize or debate this, this is the background of my faith/worldview.

    But again, my first remarks concerning the widespread misrepresentation of the Christian religion were meant to be related to Dr. Simon’s blog entry on his book on manipulative people. And because I find that many of the covert aggressors – another case in point is the cult leaders the dangers of whom you are also aware of – use certain pseudo-religious concepts to manipulate and keep others under control.
    But, as I said, many atheists do the same: they try to convert to their materialist-based faith system. Just look at the new atheist movement – it is all about trying to convert people to a blind form of atheism via scientism, without even examining any evidence if that a materialistic/naturalistic worldview is actually a rational one or a fairy tale. Actually, when it comes to a knowledge-based faith, turns out the latter is the case.

    There are certainly a large number of those who become celebrity-scientists because they impose scientism – a worldview/personal philosophy – as some sort of ‘scientific truth’, which are all established upon the flawed reasoning (circular reasoning) that defines science as the only way to truth, and while denying philosophy as a means to approach the truth (as, eg S. Hawking does) they are engaging in philosophical arguments, albeit fallacious ones, to pretend to “prove” their point.

    Anyway, this topic is immense in depth and scope in its own right, and to pursue it any further would constitute a major off-topic thread on this page. So my preference would be not to discuss this subject any further.

    Unless you have specific questions – if so please ask ONE at a time – if I can at all, I will do my best to answer them.

    Thank you for your thoughts and for your attention,
    Marianne

    PS: I also wish to stay away from the topic of TM. I stayed away from TM and all forms of yoga as well, as I find such practice opposing my faith. Jung – who btw once stated that he is certain of God’s existence – also warns against the eastern spiritual practices.

    1. Hi Marianne — I see that God has been guiding you. I would like to give you a bit of insight here. I am the person who J called “he, him,” etc. He was misleading you in this. He has repeatedly tried to start discussions here on ideas not related to the topic of this blog. He also took it upon himself to ignore my personal boundaries by interfering with my posts, and by claiming conversation with me which never happened. I rebuked him for these things, for which I earned his apparent dislike. You seem to be very intelligent and to have learned some hard lessons during your life journey.
      Rather than take up any more time here on Dr. Simon’s blog, I am willing to discuss these things with you privately by email. If you would like to do that, you will need to contact Dr. Simon privately to give your consent. Scroll to the bottom of the page, click on “Contact Dr. Simon” and tell him that you give him permission to send your email address to me. I’m not pushing this, I’m just offering it. If you would rather not do this, I will not be offended. As always, hold tight to your faith, ask God’s guidance on what He would want you to do. Peace and hope from Elva

      1. Hello again Elva,

        I am very thankful for your concern and for all your advice and recommendation. I do understand that you have the very best intentions, Elva. You deserve the best and the most caring treatment, rather than what you suffered here. By now it is clear to me who is the bullying party in this case.

        I would not hesitate to contact you via direct emails, I just don’t think it is necessary in this particular case. As you noted very wisely in an earlier comment, what narcissists hate the most is when they are ignored. I fully agree, hence I believe the best is to rest this case, without devoting more attention to it either here or in emails.

        I definitely don’t have the time, interest and energy to waste on online manipulators and I am certain that you as an empathic person understand that.

        Also, I don’t believe that your precious time should be wasted on this, Elva. Issues like manipulative / aggressive behavior of certain commenters on this site shouldn’t be our concern in the first place, but of Dr Simon and/or of his site moderators. As for me, if I would notice that someone are stalking me, and consistently trying to insult, manipulate and badmouth me on these pages, and if I would find this worthy of my attention, I would probably report it to Dr Simon. If the issue would persist, I would just draw the consequences and leave.

        I feel I need to take a break today from the net and will just enjoy the sunshine out there.

        Thank you again for all, Elva.
        Talk to you later,
        Marianne

        1. Hi Marianne — You are absolutely spot on with your analysis. I have been praying for you that God would guide you to do whatever would be right FOR YOU. I believe He has done so. I have briefly discussed this with Dr. Simon. Possibly I will talk more with you later, but can’t promise, as I have my living to earn. I do wish for you that you will find the answers you are looking for. Peace and hope from Elva

          1. Hi Elva,
            Am very grateful for your prayers and for your concern; this means so much to me.

            I do pray for you too, Elva, hoping that this additional source of distress would be soon ended.
            It’s great that you mentioned about the issue to Dr. Simon.
            Hopefully it will be resolved in a way that is the very best for you and for all the honest users of this site.

            When we have more time, I will be glad to continue our conversation.
            Wishing you God’s peace and blessings,
            Marianne

    2. Aren’t you over-interpreting this, Marianne? I was simply saying why it pays to be more careful about outside referencing after our discussion went the same way. That’s the thing.

      I’ve also talked about many similar things with my friends and no one has gotten any defensive vibe from anyone else. Why do you see defensiveness? I don’t get it.

      I’m not warning you against anyone here and I’ve stated repeatedly that folks here are great despite any riff-raff that might find their way here.

      I talk to you, because I like to discuss, just like with anyone else. That did get out of hand. You are here also to discuss and NOTHING should scare you away from here. THAT’S the thing.

      I see that Elva has commented. Yes, Elva is who I’ve been refering to as “he”.

      Elva did also say there are recommendations scattered all throughout the comments. Of course, so are comments between me and Elva. Looks like it was a bad idea to tell about it myself while trying to avoid refering to Elva like I was vilifying her. I think, Marianne, you noticed mentions of my own part, including that “It ignited from a few getting the feeling I was disrespecting them” and that “my comment along with the link was seen as unduly provocative akin to asking if all Jews are Zionists, all Muslims are terrorists or all residents of country X are warlike”(no one actually said that, just as a parallel). Elva wasn’t the only one bothered by that, either.

      As for the conversation “which never happened”, see Elva’s comment under the article Bearing the Burden of Responsible Living(March 6, 2015). It took some time to digest she’d made a connection anyone else could possibly have made. Also, this was before she made it clear she wouldn’t talk to me.

      Considering I did include my own part, I fail to understand why Elva has seen it necessary to comment further on the matter.

      Now, Marianne, do you get it? Discussion, even for connection with others, is wonderful, but it needs to be careful here with outside referencing. I hope I made it clear why. No one here has problems with discussing matters of emotional recovery, twisted belief systems or life purpose and the lex talionis -discussion seemed to go well, too, even though it’s a concept and not a literal law of the mind. I encourage you to discuss without getting scared away.

    3. When studied at an esoteric level all teachings are all the same. There is no right or no wrong. There is only The Way. It is known as gnosis and Jesus taught it as did Krishna as do many other Avatars that came before and after. I admire you for your suffering, your will, your perseverance and your ability to see the light, your understanding and your wisdom. There are many means to attain to a level of being and find the way. Understanding and knowledge are one road of many and many traditions teach it even the Aborigines and indigenous cultures world over. It is eternal.

      Blessings to you Marianne

  56. Dear Elva and J,

    I love you guys both and am trying to avoid to hurt either of you, so please allow me to stay out of this. Even if I understood what exactly is going on, I couldn’t be much of help, anyway.

    What I can sense is that you both feel to suffer some severe injustice, and for some reason you are trying to communicate that to me. Your perspective sounds like the place I have been many times: I tried to explain that I was innocent and I was the offended party, but no one listened and no one understood. That is an awful situation to be and I just don’t want to be the one who makes the wrong choice and add to the hurt you are feeling. Maybe both of you are right, and this is just a misunderstanding, maybe only one of you is correct. I simply don’t know. But I wish to give you both the benefit of the doubt so I empathisize with both of you.

    If you are trying to share with me something in order to spare me from some abuse, I do appreciate that too. Very much.
    But I don’t have enough information to take a stand on this matter and I don’t have time and energy to collect the necessary information to take the stand. So please hear me out: I love you guys both. I am eternally grateful to you – and to everyone on this site – for the wonderful welcome with which you greeted me here. I am very tired, I am struggling with some severe effects of grieving my mother and grieving my family whom I loved as a child, even now as an adult.

    All I am here for is to ease the pain and to try to ease the pain of others, and to be heard by those who can understand me. And to spread the message of love and peace. Life is too short to do anything else than that. I know it’s a cliche, but it is true.

    I hope from my heart that this didn’t offend either of you. Thank you for your understanding, dear friends,

    Marianne

    1. I can say this: I would’ve said the same things with ANYONE ELSE in the same scenario as with Elva. I did have a few similar back-and-forth exchanges with a few other commenters.

      I’m sorry, Marianne, you had to see this.

      You didn’t offend me, at least, and it would only be my fault if I did get offended by your message. You needn’t apologize.

      If you happen to see any of my posts, some of the very earliest of them are written in a pretty stilted fashion. If you stumble upon some post of mine you think makes sense, feel free to take of them what you will. If you find some that are way out there, feel free to disregard them.

      Hoping for the best for you.

      1. J,
        Since I have been seeking a peaceful experience on this site, and I have explicitly asked you to leave me out of this, I am immensely surprised hearing of this issue all over again. What you are attempting here is called triangulation, a form of manipulation.

        J it has been you who brought your conflict with Elva here into the focus, NOT Elva. You have been badmouthing her to me, she only defended herself against your slander.
        You are and have been attacking her for NO REASON whatsoever, as I didn’t offend you in any way and I was in no way involved with the said conflict, hence the issue is entirely out of context and without justification.
        As I said earlier, I can eventually recognize the signs when someone starts manipulating and patronising me. I can only talk from my experience and my experience has been that such person has been you, NOT Elva.
        Hoping for the best for you too.

      2. What you say doesn’t make sense.

        If that’s the case, why would I recommend books handling different kinds of manipulation to you?

        Also, this started from our religious conversation. I wanted to tell you what happened when outside referencing got out of my hands. You probably noticed many mentions of MY OWN part starting it all. I’ve also given you some references and I think you would’ve made the same conclusions as Elva in that case.

        Now, why you think this is what you say this is, is beyond me.

      3. But if you really think that, you can discuss without responding to me directly and it means that I won’t be responding to you directly either. I don’t know where in my thoughts you exactly got that impression you did, but okay.

        You are free to disregard any post of mine you may see if you wish.

        Even if you engage in the same discussions as I, I won’t be responding to you directly, only to ideas raised by discussioners.

        Still, be careful with outside referencing. That still stands. Thanks for bothering to read this.

  57. Marianne, Elva, J,

    Marianne, you mention the book, “the Drama of the Gifted Child”. If I remember correctly the author leans heavily on a Polish psychologist, Dubrowski, and his theories of ‘cracking up’ or disintegration and then reintegrating at a more psychologically refined level. He referred to it as, ‘Positive Disintegration,’ Have you looked into this and also the heightened ‘excitabilities’ of certain temperaments, who are more prone to this breaking and remaking model of the human psyche?

    Think you would all be interested although Marianne is probably familiar with this material already!

    A big hug to all of you

      1. J,

        I think the book is simply,”Dubrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration,” If you do a Wikipedia search you will find enough background that you can better make a decision as to whether it is worthwhile for you to pursue. It was life altering for me.

    1. Hello again LisaO,

      Thank you so much for your thoughts and for your kindness, Lisa. No, I am not familiar with this method; in fact I haven’t read many books on the topic; only those of the essentials that I frozenly listed.
      (Most of what I know regarding manipulative/aggressive people is based on my own experience, which however, is quite extensive and intensive.)

      So, I’m not familiar with Dubrowski’s work and even from Miller I only read the Drama of the Gifted Child.
      What you mentioned about Dubrowski’s work sounds very intriguing – I will check it out.

      True though, for a while I haven’t done much research on the subject, because after a while I found reading on this topic emotionally too heavy. It triggered too many tough thoughts as for my own case, both from the past and present.

      On a side note: I found it next to impossible to know how much reading is enough and how much is too much. Experts say we need to go through the processes of anger and grief, but we shouldn’t get stuck in these either. So there has to be a point in time when the process is over and one moves on – I feel to be close to that phase now.

      As for Miller, I do appreciate her work even though the book I read from her hindered my healing process for a while. Based on Miller’s approach (or maybe I missed something) first I also assumed that my mother didn’t know any better when she abused me. I find it easier to believe that most parents do not purposefully harm their children, and Miller’s views are in harmony with mine also on a general level, as I am inclined to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume them to be innocent until some prove the opposite. So for a long while I forgave my mother and found excuses for her even after I recognized she has been abusing me throughout my life.
      But later on, when I put together the big picture from our whole family past and present, I just had to face the fact that something essentially different has been going on. For my mother all human relationships, including her “love” for me has been nothing but a GAME and her fun and “victory” in her games, whereas she thought of my trust and love for her as my “weakest” point to target in her games. She has no emotions, no conscience, no compassion, no mercy, no regrets and no sense of responsibility. In short, she is a CD.

      I especially honor Dr. Simon’s work because he identifies this personality type as well. His approach has been helpful to me on a unique level, as it provides a clear divide between the victims and abusers, between the neurotic type who mean well and the disordered characters who do intentional damage to their victims.
      In my view Dr Simon’s work is essential not only for private cases, but for the whole society as a whole.
      I have also noticed, based on my own research and observation, that the extant level of immoral, selfish, cruel and irresponsible behaviors in our societies – and the worsening trend thereof – is just alarming.

      Thank you again for your kindness and for your thoughts, Lisa. Sending you a big hug too 🙂
      Marianne

      1. Hi again Marianne,

        I don’t think I have read any books on abusive parents. I didn’t read Alice Miller’s book, for the same reason you are disinclined to read anything along these lines now. I read about the book through reading about Dubrowski’s book. I’m a great reader of online summaries! Not so much books, these days!

        I found Dubrowski’s theories compelling because they shed a very different light on human suffering than standard psychological theory. His understanding was that breaking down within an atmosphere of malfunction indicates the spirit is in conflict with the ideals, values or lack thereof of that system. In your case, it would be your family system. Post illumination and breakdown, you had a transformative experience where you reintegrated with much greater understanding and emotional and spiritual refinement.

        Jungian theory, which aligns well with core Christian beliefs, is that the individual’s main drive or purpose is to individuate to the extent that is possible; to think for him or herself, not as a Contrarian, but as a being motivated by drives other than conforming to the group. This is the premise Dubrowski appears to work with.

  58. Its such an eye opener to have sights like this one. And I believe it helps a lot of people in abusive relationships. My question however is. Why do we “the victim ” often attract manipulative disordered people? I have been myriad for 7 years. To a abuser. Physically and verbally. I walked out with my two kids. And then met a man. Who has totally the opposite characteristics. Until moving in together. The horrific truth about personality disorder and the abuse of passive aggressive. Manipulation. If it wast for the research on the web. I would never have discovered disorientation. Mind is set to leave. I must be gone by this weak end.

  59. I am currently separated (10 months) with a Narcissistic spouse/manipulator, etc. which through my separation have realized the games he has played and continues to attempt to play – including the aggressive approach of filing a court order for child custody while withholding the papers from me wanting to “discuss” it together – his usual manipulative tactic. I sent him a friendly lawyer letter after I had no choice among other things not receiving support payments from him for our child (with plenty of excuses including that he would default on mortgage payments). He is so selfish and I do fear how his anger will show through again soon as the legal processes continue and he doesn’t get his way. I separated in July from him after he threw a knife in a room where I was sitting with our 6 month old at the time. He denied that as threatening behaviour (as does his crazy mother who would defend him I’m sure if he murdered someone… his Dad is a Narcissist to a T.). Crazy!

  60. Ok, this is my husband. I’m kind of shocked &feeling some denial. I found this website just by searching “how to stop guilt trips”. I feel like suddenly, i can see our marriage in its entirety. For years, he’s guilt tripped and nagged me, criticizing every thing i do. We got ina huge fight Sunday because he reads my texts and emails (which i have said numerous times, i’m ok with because his ex wife cheated, but he won’t own up to reading them). Anyway, he starts yelling about why i don’t tell him anything, why i tell so many white lies. I couldn’t see it until he started yelling, but now it’s so obvious. I can’t tell him anything, i’m frozen with fear, because he CONSTANTLY, in every little conversation we have, shuts me down, stops me talking, tells me why whatever my thoughts or feelings are wrong, & makes some judgement or condition of our relationship.

    In a more benign example, a good friend at work whacked his head &was seriously concussed for 3 months. I had been talking to another coworker about visiting the injured one, & she brought up that she was uncomfortable going to his house. She’s married & very religious. I thought about this & went home to talk to my husband about it. I said “how would you feel about me visiting Jim? Are you comfortable with me going to his house?” His reaction was to get mad, because evidently i’m SUPPOSED to just tell him what i’m doing, & the fact that i was considering his feelings means i want to sleep with Jim. I was dumbfounded. These things happen every single day. I don’t know what to do. We have 3 small kids. i don’t know if i can realistically leave, & what will happen if i do? Do you think counseling will help? He WON’T admit to any wrong doing, but he says he honestly wants to become a better husband.

    1. Becky,
      Looks like your gut is sensing something different but your “fuzzy” brain is going in different direction.
      Counseling may help if your husbands behavior is rooted in neurosis, but may be counter-productive if your husband is fully aware of what & why he does and your therapist falls to your husband’s version of truth. Better to get some better understanding of situation yourself first. Before deciding something, you can try reading “In Sheep’s Clothing”, it just may be possible that your husband is simply pursuing self-centered agenda and uses manipulation tactics to keep you in check. Everyone is manipulative to some extent and use a tactic or two once in while, but some people are crafty master. Lying is always strong indicator of big problems, and grandest of the lie is when a liar accuses a truthful person of lying.

    2. “grandest of the lie is when a liar accuses a truthful person of lying.”

      So true, Andy! Thanks for pointing that out!

    3. Becky, welcome. To quickly answer you, I agree with Timothy that first thing is you need to educate yourself. You need to wake up to what is really going on. Dr Simon’s books are great. Also, I recommend Why does he do that? by Lundy Bancroft, and The verbally abusive relationship by Evans. (Do not leave them lying around, and do not confront him with what you learn.)

      Carve out some space for yourself where you are safe, alone, and can read and think.

      If you determine that you are being verbally abused or severely manipulated and intimidated, look for a therapist who knows these issues, specializes in these issues, and will know what to do to help you. Go alone. The therapist will help you figure out what next. (Your husband may agree to go to therapy too, but he needs a different therapy.)

      Best of luck, and let us know how it goes! Someone here is always ready to jump in with support. We’ve been there. (Hug.)

  61. What about the manipulator who will say nice things about me to the people that are relevant and important in his life but treat me with contempt in private? I’m just realizing that the antisocial sociopath sibiling in our family does this as a tool and uses depression as an excuse to not interact. Thoughts and advice please.

    1. Sydney,

      When you describe to others how the offender is treating you and or erupt in anger, refer to them as evil or etc… mutual acquaintances think YOU are the one with the problem, not little Mary Sunshine (or male equivalent).

      It’s about making you appear to be off your rocker and mean mouthed.

      Remember you don’t need third party verification of the validity of your claims when being treated badly by someone who is managing impressions.

      Been there, done that. Not going to let anybody game me that way again. The lengths that these empty wraiths go to in their attempts to manipulate social space, is extraordinary. It’s also profoundly pathetic.

      What labor intensive, manipulative and petty lives they lead

      1. Thank-you for your reply Lisa.  My sibling and I don’t have mutual acquaintances, he identifies himself as an introvert and has no friends.  My husband and I identify him as a non-empathetic antisocial sociopath. Our cognitively impaired mother whom I’m responsible for is one of the few people that we share besides 2 other siblings who I don’t need validation from.  In the past  my mother has said “he is sick in the head” but blames herself for his behavior. Through the years my parents have confided in me about how “nasty” he could be. We lived in separate states so he could put on the charm when we visited. It finally dawned on me that he sings my praises to her and is vile and vicious to me via text messages that I have never responded to.  I will NEVER have anything to do with him again and my husband I have told him so.  He talked to my mother recently after a 2.5 month absence and said he was depressed. Instead of reacting like I pretended to care I did a knee jerk reaction and said “He treats everyone like shit and then he wonders why no one wants anything to do with him” and added the icing “I wish he’d drop dead”.  I fell into his trap and I will be very careful from now on. It didn’t dawn on me that this is what he has been doing. Is there a word for this type of behavior? The person who suffers in this scenario is my mother and I have tried to get her to see that she has 3 other children who are there for her and always will be and to not gauge the success of motherhood by the youngest ones actions.  Cognitively impaired people forget and start the whole “where are they” process over and over again.   —– Original Message —–

        1. Uggghh …Oh Sydney. Really sad about your mother. I wonder if she could just be distracted somehow from thinking about socio-bro?

          I won’t go into detail about my own experiences with this type of behavior other than to say– if you are a relatively open honest and spontaneous person and you have an entanglement of any kind with someone like this, it is extremely confusing.

          It is very sad that your mother blames herself for your brother. Some people are just kind of born that way but still have the power to choose.

          1. Thanks Lisa, I have spent countless hours searching online about my brother’s behavior, on one hand I find it fascinating  because I don’t have the emotional bond or investment my mother has but the part of me that wants to protect her comes to the forefront and I cannot comprehend how he can spend the short time she has left manipulating her.  What a pathetic excuse of  a human being my brother is. Like you said some people are kinda born that way but still have the power to choose.   

  62. What about the manipulator who will say nice things about me to the people that are relevant and important in his life but treat me with contempt in private? I’m just realizing that the antisocial sociopath sibiling in our family does this as a tool and uses depression as an excuse to not interact. Thoughts and advice please.

  63. I recently started–and stopped–dating a 68 year old man who displayed some classic behaviors of manipulation and guilt-tripping. I’m 59, and not particularly interested in just any sort of relationship at this point. I was very clear about keeping it at friendship and casual outings from the start.

    Typically, a date involved a week leading up to the date and a week after the date with an expectation of constant electronic communication that went like this, highlights only:

    GUILT TRIP Haven’t heard from you since I received the nice email from you this morning. l like to receive text or email first thing in the morning, makes my day brighter…and lots of texts during the day.

    THE”ALL IN” ULTIMATUM MANIPULATION Not sure if you know what’s on my agenda… Just to refresh your memory ! I’m looking for a life partner (marriage) so if your not remotely interested in me,it would be nice to know that! Don’t want to offend you but thought maybe I should repeat what my intentions are

    MANIPULATION Why haven’t you answered my questions…if you don’t want to go out with me can you let me know and I won’t bother you?

    ME I don’t discuss personal matters via electronic communication.

    ULTIMATUM Are we still dating? If you don’t want to be with me you have to let me know.

    ME FINAL REBUTTAL You’ve basically given me an ultimatum via electronic communication and I am too stunned to respond, ever again. Good bye!

    GUILT TRIP Sorry I got on your bad side…I didn’t mean too! I just thought I’d clear the air and reaffirm my intentions…no ultimatum! Either you like me or you don’t! and if you do then that’s good and I will try and treat you the best I can and just see where the trail leads! I thought you told me you like for me to be honest and that’s all I was doing. I would never try and tell you what to do and hope I did not blow my chances with you…

    FEIGNING INNOCENCE I tried calling several times on Saturday but no answer…I wanted to tell you what my PCP had told me. Hope your well!

    ME :
    The final word is no word at all, and I gave him the final word. Obviously, continuing to play junior high school games via text and e-mail was only going to make him thing that manipulation was going to work with me. I think that is the only way to deal with manipulators. Avoid them in relationships, and have iron clad contracts with them in business.

  64. I haven’t read any real illustrations of manipulation in this article and the example of the woman caring for her husband is a really, really bad one – the woman is not in denial – she loves – cares.

    To give an example of a manipulative person:

    A to B: ‘Why don’t you apply for that job? It’s ideal for you…’
    B: Don’t you want the job?
    A: No. You’d be perfect at it.
    So B applies for job.
    A turns up at interview…
    B: what are you doing here?
    Interviewer to A: Do come in. So nice to see you again…

    THAT is manipuation – not being silly and bumping into someone – that’s just plain stupid childish maliciousness. A really manipulative person leaves one in a state of utter confusion because of extreme game playing.

  65. I have all these comments,,, I knew thing weren’t OK, it’s been 7 years I have 3 kids n 1 on the way, 3 r his I have tried so many times to leave did it twice, but I always end up BK n he never does anything around the kids, then everything is alway my fault I can’t do anything right ,he don’t ask u to do things he tells u what to do do it has to be PERFECTLY done,, he jus wants me to sit n da bedroom all-day,, till the kids come home, then cook for them, help wit HW give baths put them in the bed,, then do whatever he want don’t get any sleep cause I fear going to sleep around him HE is abusive n every way,, any time I leave he has someone follows us, no matter what I have to do I have to always take kids with me if he dont want me to do things he want take me, I can’t even go over my parents house without an argument I want out but there’s no way,, I have no where to go with three kids and one on the wayhelp

  66. I have been with this man for seven years, I’m thirty-six with three kids one on the way,, I have jus realized that things weren’t right so I started googling things and it lead me here, so what am I to do. We have separated twice but he some how convinced me to come back and I did, he is extremely abusive in every way but physically, everything that happens is my fault o never do anything right, he’ll tell the kids to say thing,, then get mad if I say anything to them, he never let’s me go anywhere alone, can’t get a job unless I give him all the money,, I have to do everything for the kids he don’t help,,I have to sit in the BR UNLESS he calls me to do it something I feel like I’m a prisoner this is so depressing I don’t know how much more or longer I can keep doing this.. But where will I go with three kids n one on the way,,I have prepared so many papers because I don’t know what else to do,, I don’t want him to end up with my family, I can’t sleep well I should say he want let me sleep I’m terrified to sleep anyway not knowing if he’ll do anything to me so confused depressed n unhappy I wonder if the kids know n if they’ll be mad I took them from their dad…

  67. Lucy,
    Having a good day so playing catch up. Lets talk later. It is true forewarned is forearmed. Also, not playing into their hands with emotions will save you a lot of money and distress.

    Don’t feel bad that he didn’t love you he wasn’t capable of that in the true sense. I know this is very painful to accept and they will crush you like the other side as he always got a sense of delight and satisfaction of ego. Let that go, know that you have the ability to love in a whole and honorable way. If this is any consolation he cared for you in the only way he was capable of.

    It is his loss, don’t let any of the negativity drag you down, he is angry and his ego severely wounded and at this juncture you are the whipping boy. Lets see if we can think ahead of some of this so you aren’t so torn.

    I understood to a fair degree what was going on when I detached and I am fairly good at reading into what their next move are. I just feel pity, I have to let anger go as it seems to blind my judgement. But, then, knowing the sickness I can’t get angry its pity. This keeps me in a good place. Sit back and watch he will act and sound like a fool.

    Just state the facts and make sure you can show all your bills and the financial dilemma this has put you in, let them know you can’t afford a decent place to live and had to depend on the generosity of a friend. Tell them it is only temporary and you need your income to support yourself. Again, you have only a short amount of time and he will try to use all of it winning and portraying the victim. Your attorney should know all this.

    I would love to sit in the courtroom and observe this specimen!

    Again be strong, don’t look at him, don’t respond in any way, maintain composure at all times. He may have lost all dignity but you have yours, remember NO WORD IS THE LAST WORD! DONT FOR GET IT. It will make him nuts he can’t push your buttons any more.

    Your in my thoughts and prayers (Hugs)

  68. January 2013 my husband came home from three years in rehab after a MRSA Abscess in his spine, and the following complications. His return turned into a terror for me and everyone else when he refused to let us think of solutions to let him into traditions, vacations and other social functions that we had managed to keep him out of the way for 31 years. He came home to first find me seeing an old boyfriend because I did not think I was ever going to be able to keep the promise of the reward I was considered for a life well lived for the benefit of other people, he thought he was coming home in a wheel chair and he kept the fact he was learning to walk without nerve impulse from the top of his legs down a close secret from us.

    First when he discovered the affair it was a day that I was saying my final good by to the other man when my husband trapped when my AP decided he was going to create some levity at my husbands expense by sweeping his cane and then laughed at him about how did I end up with this pathetic looser. My husbands reaction far out reached the offence, My husband used the same cane as a spear to fracture my APs scull. I was swatted into a corner for trying to stop what came next. The police found my husband sitting beside the other man and everytime he woke up again my husbands fist would break another bone with him yelling whose the pathetic looser now. They called it an irrational rage.

    The Next two weeks he was in a stress center and I was getting ready to go to an event dinner I had been invited to before he was out of rehab. I was going with his mother, father and his fathers best friend. That day he was standing outside the bedroom door when I came out just finished getting ready to go. When I ran square into his chest and I could see the evenings plans were not going nearly as expected in his face.

    I did not get the first word out before starting to cry and make some accommodation to meet after the event wherever he chose so we could get every one that had a need to say how we wanted to include him in the functions he had been kept out of for over three decades, He said He was not going to let any one have any say in any thing concerning him, From that second on I was going to understand Neither me, my friends or his father had a dam thing to say in what he was allowed in life under his roof he was the final judge and arbiter of what he was going to be allowed, He was going to take everything back that had been denied him through blackmail force and coearsion. Starting with me that evening and he was not considering any thing in negotiation, I was crying I had promised to go to this event months ago and he back me into the living room yelling what about all the promises made him and never kept the last 31 years. His father and others better get used to my promises being broken to them because I was keeping those he was due by decades first.

    I tried running for the door when he shredded my cocktail dress I was wearing and I was begging him to just slow down. Let everyone come to some accommodation with him. I said things had happened the last 12 years that were bad on both sides and he could not count on agreement with his wanting his life as he wanted it yet. We had to try and work into it, He flat out said If I did not submit that evening he would kill me, and any one that got in his way. He left me without a choice about sex he took from me a choice. Latter he tried to remove his father, mother and their best friend from life when he threw his fathers best friend at his arriving fathers windshield after telling him he was not entering our home without a badge or warrant. He did not care who he worked for. His Father stopped short seeing his friend fly over the deck rail and the friend was put into the hospital with a stitched six by for inch flap of skin from his forehead back and a bad concusion.

    Things have not been the same for any one since with any interference is met by counter violence. Any request To just have a life just not the same as everyone else gets people hurt.

    I have been trying to find a way back to peace love and understanding ideals I always held dear but my husband is determined since we kept him as little more than a slave for decades he’s not returning to it for any reason even if people have to die for trying.

    As he puts it we sowed the wind now we cry we are reaping the whirlwind when it hits us. I had a baby boy nine months six days after that evening. I did not realize the Rape could cause me to ovulate at a time I was thinking my time to have children was done. I was 48, my sion was born when I was 49, I have tried in several areas to get him to at least consider our feelings and just do things at different times than what I had planed, In 2014 we came back to sell our home and complete the move 1200 miles west. Memorial day was The day it came to a violet time again when His father wanted he cookout on our porch since the shelters were all reserved. Over Thirty guests arrived to a very tense group when my husband refused to spend the day someplace else. He simply said my home, my food my equipment and my holiday. If they did not like him there they could drown themselves for all he cared, His father put me on a reservation ticket for after dinner drinks and dancing at a new club downtown with his best friend, My husband offered him a ride back to the ER if he did not give him the ticket and scram. He ran for his life dropping the ticket in my husbands hand. His father slapped his son for lousy manners to his friend it was only a few hours to get out and away from him. His father hit clear across the kitchen with his jaw broken. with my husband yelling that he was done interfering in his life and our marriage, He made everyone leave to lock up and I was again crying why was he being so mean about a few hours I was going to come home then. He did not have to hurt his father for a little slap.

    We got to the Club and the doorman had been called and offered a 100 to keep my husband from going in with me as a lesson he was not in charge. I always thought doormen had wide latitude in rejecting entrance, That doorman also ended up in a hospital after shoving my husband to the street. All It took was one finger laid on him on a public street, My husband dismantled the man at that point. And the club manager could not do enough for my husband then. . The next Incident was three days before we were leaving on August first for the last time in 2014. I was asked to go to a breakfast to discuss the cruise to Cancun in 2015. We did not want my husbands input just to think of something else we could get him to do for the time.

    The travel agent refused without my husbands written and verbal OK to cancel the double he had made, He was not permiting me any access to funds unless he had direct say. His passport was locked in his safety deposit box that the only way I gained access was upon his death. So I was Stuck with accepting his decisions, He was backed off by two friends holding him at bay with pistols to let me go to a breakfast to talk with people rationally about how we could get my husband just to stay home there was going to be a trip planed for him latter. He had installed wireless CCD cams without my knowledge for the new owners on August first, He put in on a thumb drive as proof he was intimidated at gun point He however taking his proof to the police saw his sister pulling into where we were meeting and decided to follow and deliver a personal message to the world. The first we knew he was there was when his sister screamed watch out from the other side of the table I actually hide under the table until the Police asked me to come out. The two that held him at pistol point were being put on gurnies with 4 inch gashes to the jaw bone. His father had narrowly escaped being ran through with his cane. Four Metro officers took him to the floor.

    When Metro watched the video file his father was crying that the incident had been over at least 20 minutes, we left him on his porch unharmed so what right did he have to try and kill them over something they considered done, That video was a get out of jail free card. It put everyone else on notice that the law was not going to put up with our abuse at all now. I was put on probation, his fathers friends lost thousands of dollars in weapons confiscations, His father was fined and put on probation. All because my husband would not accept controls placed on him in life.. I realize that what we did was wrong but did that give him the right to take matters into his hands and hurt over 35 men because he wanted his way.

    I know of one man that even comitted suicide over his getting even. The Deacon of our church in 2003 was supposed to work the down week for Christmas, He hatched a plan to get my husband to work instead claiming religous need. Since my husband was the lead receiver in the department he was required to stay until shift end on the 23 of December 2003 everyone else had left except my husband and the deacon, When His foreman told him he had to work there was no one else to reach to make work. It was going to be my husbands 22nd consecutive Christmas new years worked since 1981, Actually he had had only six days off in that time for recovery from a surgery, A hole from over his right Eye to the center of his head was drilled to remove a tumor.

    But That was another abuse when he was yanked off a mat in his computer room to go back to work six days latter. But My husbands one hobby 35 MM photography was something he could do going and coming from work, He had pictures of the deacon going into a motel with a dancer while his wife was at a church conference. He Went to Church at the midnight service on Christmas eve, and left the pictures on her chair on the dias. HE also discussed our life since marriage with the pastor since he was the only one in the church. knew he got home late Christmas morning and I got up and wished him a merry Christmas he was getting ready to go back to work, All I got was whats so Merry another stinking day at work was all it was to him. His father and mother picked me up for the Christmas day, I was happy he was not so mad as he was over the milinials in 2000 to give me another box of Dog S*** His father said well its to bad he’s just going to have to be a man and take what’s offered which after all the hell he had raised was nothing ever was going to be offered.

    We got to the church and the pastor asked e to set an apointment with him, My husband had told him some troubling things about my being a wife. I knew exactly what those troubling things were, But the Deacon came by and said my husband should be used to working all the time when was his last day off 1980 and Him and his wife put their two daughters and son in the front pew and went to their seats on the dias, Then the deacons wife stood up with that envelope looking in it and cried don’t come home tonight to the deacon, went and collected their She filed for a divorce and left for her fathers in El Passo with all three children kids, by weeks end, With the deacons infidelity public he was no longer the deacon.

    He started using drugs and drinking heavy the next two years, e Was n his last absentee layoff when Christmas eve 2005 He pulled up in front of the church, Put a slug gun under his chin and pushed the trigger. I told my husband that night what happened to the deacon and the reaction was oh well. The Drugie probably saw the light and decided that my husband was right, he was a worthless human being. there was no compassion. He felt he deserved what he got.

    His mothers funeral was a case in point this June, To keep tensions down with friends and family he was to have a private service for himself but arriving at his the funeral home he was greeted by a friend of the family and told with the mans hand on his chest to come back for himself in an hour. My husband looked like the hulk slamming the man around. Breaking the mans arm in four places for daring to put his paws on him, after the last three years I was begging him just to do as requested and come back even his mother when she died wanted him to deal in peace just back off when he could, My husband went in and said any one else in line to take him on he could arrange other funerals if they did. never wanted any thing to get to this point. I had hopes within two years he would see cooperation was the best and only option for him. he might not have the way he wanted but he would get something latter. he just needed to show compassion for others, Now that compassion is if you get in my way I will get you out of it. Even if you are dead.

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