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Gasoline and Fire Relationships — 38 Comments

  1. Joyce, superb article and a catalyst for some excellent discussion, I think.

    Triagulation is SO farking subtle that I never realized when the music would stop and we would all change seats. Victor set us all AGAINST one another – someone was ALWAYS the instigator and he was ALWAYS the poor victim that just worked his backside off to pay the bills. LMAO!!!!!!!!!!! None of us in my family ever realized what was happening because he was able to affect such subtle orchestration of the whole thing.

    Wow…………..just, wow……….

    • Truthy, the “drama triangle” of victim-persecutor-rescuer is very subtle. But each party that “plays the game” sits in all three of the chairs, though some have “favorite” chairs.

      Berne’s bookk “games people play” shows exactly how we “justify” sitting in a chair and feel vindicated.

      One story he told was really a great example.

      Fred is an alcoholic. Fred drinks ujp the pay check on Friday night and comes home. He is in this case, the abuser. His wife gets furious that he has victimized her by drinking up all the money. and she (now the abuser herself) screams at him about drinking up all the money. (He is now the victim) then after a while he gets tired of hearing her and becoming the abuser again, he hits her. she is now back in the victim chair. so she calls the cop (the person who will play the rescuer) and the cop hauls fred off to jail. Fred is now the victim again and the cop the abuser.

      The next day, the wife goes down and hocks her wedding ring to bail Fred out. she is now the rescuer and fred the victim. They get home and she goes back into abuse mode and yells at him, he listens a while then smacks her again…and round and round and round it goes.

      As long as everyone plays their role(s) the status quo remains intact. It is when one person REFUSES to play the game that the others will ramp up their game playing to try to suck the person back into the game, or extract revenge on them for not playing.

      I didn’t realize it but I’ve played that game for my entire life. Maybe not the alcoholic part, but the “drama triangle” none the less.

  2. Joyce, Im trying to apply this to my own spath experience and see IF it applies. I’m not sure. It’s was such a muddled up mess and I never felt like i was on solid ground, mentally, emotionally……I feel like I WAS tricked. I would have NEVER stayed with him if I would have known then what I KNOW now. I just didn’t know! I saw the flags but I didn’t know what they REALLY meant, not in his case anyhow.
    I really did believe him each and every time he said he wanted things to work out, apologized, etc. It always seemed different.

  3. Dotty, whether you were AWARE of this or not, you PARTICIPATED in the “drama” triangle. You talked in a post either here or on 180rule about how you would hold things in and in and then explode when you were with him, THAT is participating in the drama triangle, you were victim, victim, victim, then you got angry over this build up and became the abuser (at least verbally) so while you may not have been AWARE you did participate in the drama rama.

    We all did that’s why we had a problem in the first place. If we had been healthy, we would have recognized the abuser as an abuser and SET FIRM BOUNDARIES, and if those were not respected, we would have gone NC much sooner.

    I wasn’t consciously aware of the drama triangle in myself, I could see it in others, but not myself. As Jesus said, “get the beam out of your own eye before you try to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” LOL

    It takes time to learn about these things and then APPLY them to ourselves, and even when we intellectually get it about the drama triangle, EMOTIONALLY admitting it is another step toward being healthy.

  4. It wasn’t exactly holding things in. more like not being able to get the words straight in my brain/ mouth. But now I see why. I was in a loose loose situation and I didn’t know it Joyce. And the mental confusion for me was what held me there. That’s my honest assessment of it. Until I really started reading and learning about these types, I was under the false impression that things were going to turn around and the reason things were messed up is that it HAD to be partly my fault.I didn’t know it was abuse! I see clearly now that it was NOT my fault because I was fighting a loosing battle, unknowingly, for a very long time and more than likely from the beginning. I see the dynamic now but I didn’t then. I was hoodwinked Joyce, I honestly could not figure this out at the time. I don’t think i can explain it, I know I can’t. I can’t retell his manipulations, excuses, apologies, the things he said, the promises he made,,,,,,He seemed so sincere. It all just melted my brain…..the discrepancies that seem so much clearer now were just a mud puddle then. Like I said, it’s like I was driving in the fog! In a trance in the fog. and i was weaker and weaker and weaker. It just became like swimming in quicksand.
    I didn’t know I was being toyed with. And if I would have known i was being toyed with I would have put and end to it pronto. OMG, it’s so complicated! Im out of it now…..If I went back to it at this point I should be shot…..I think I was in denial, I think I was in a trance, I think I was addicted, ALL of it and if it weren’t for the fact that they do this TO you, intentionally and keep you confused and under a spell intentionally, I would say that I was partially responsible and not a victim but I disagree in this case. I see myself every bit as much as a victim as someone who gets raped because some douchebag put a pill in their drink when they weren’t looking. He raped and used me under the false guise of love and that is being victimized.
    Sorry for the ramble here Joyce. I guess I just see it differently.

  5. Dotty, we were ALL duped, but it was because we did not have healthy boundaries. NO one with healthy boundaries lets that kind of thing continue. So yes, the choices I made to enable my son (and other offenders, users and abusers) were POOR CHOICES. That does NOT mean it was my “fault” but I contributed to my own abuse by my poor choices.

    They had no right to do what they did, it is still abuse, but I should have made better choices, and now that I KNOW I DO make better choices. I am working o n changing myself by teaching myself healthy ways of coping with people who are abusers—get away from them and stay away from them.

    Don’t give my trust to people freely, let them EARN that trust by being kind, caring, responsible and honest. Doing what they say they will do. I no longer give dishonest or mean people “second chances” any more. When someone shows you what they are, BELIEVE THEM THE FIRST TIME.

    It is important that we realize that our own poor choices (for whatever reason, lack of knowledge, etc) still contributed to the CONTINUING abuse. Now we know what abuse is and now we can be more assertive in demanding that other people treat us with the same kind of respect that we treat them.

    • It just wasn’t that black and white. It’s not like he had me tied up and was beating me all the time or even being abusive all the time. THATS what was so confusing. It’s like the scales of “everything is ok” and “this is not ok” were being tipped back and forth so often and the extremes were so extreme…….IDK….he just wasn’t balck and white abusive. I didn’t know that the good things I saw were as bad as the bad things I saw. I didn’t understand the dynamics of a spathalogical person. I would hope that now I have been through this, I would see through it in a heart beat.
      The way it started was very insidious…..and I got hooked chemically hooked and i honestly think that at that point It was curtains for me. I just didn’t know. I couldn’t conceive that someone would say and do the things he said and did and underneath it all it would be Bull poop!
      So if my choices were made poorly because i didn’t know, I am responsible for not knowing? Well, now I do know. and like i said, I can have no excuse at this point. He played my ignorance like a fiddle and i hope some how he pays the piper for it. It’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen a person do in my life and i mean ALL of these pathetic LOOSERS!! Your’s mine, EVERYONES!
      {{Hugs Joyce}}

  6. Ignorance is a definite part of why we made the poor decisions we did, but now that we are no longer ignorant of the fact that some people have no good deep down in them, we must learn to make better choices than in the past.

    What ever the reason we were ignorant, whether it was because of our family of origin was dysfunctional, or other reasons, that doesn’t mean we made good or wise choices.

    But now that we have some level of education about what THEY Are, we must be wary and not let another one love bomb us and hook us in. It is not at all uncommon for a person in an abusive relationship that gets out, to get hooked up with ANOTHER ABUSER. One of my dear friends from the past got out of her abusive marriage, and then hooked up with another guy that kept hitting her, she would have him arrested, then bail him out, over and over, and eventually married him.

    Every time she had him in jail she would come over to my house with h er black eyes and bruises and tell me “how awful” he was, then she would go bail him out. After a few times of this, I told her “Marilyn, as long as you take him back, I don’t intend to listen to you tell me how bad he is and then go bail him out again.” I could see it in HER situation but I did the same thing with my son.

    When I worked doing pro bono health care for the women and children at the DV shelter, many if not most would go back, and I felt superior to them because if a man hit me I would never take him back….true…but I kept giving my son chance after chance to abuse me. LOL I wasn’t superior to them, I was JUST LIKE THEM. I was just too arrogant to see it.

    While I would never have allowed a man to hit me and stay with him, I let my son do it and “forgave” him….DUH???

  7. Joyce, What I learned about myself from this is how where and why i am as vulnerable to the spiders lure as i was. Physical touch and affection is like crack cocaine to me. I live alone and am probably way more ok with that then a lot of people are. I remember a friend of mine asked me, aren’t you afraid? She said she could never live by herself. I’ve done it most of my adult life with a few relationships thrown in here and there. Anyhow, I did enjoy his companionship,,,,,while I was still under the impression that he actually loved me. I miss that very much and i miss lovING (verb) someone. And how sad to say…..thats all he is to me now….someone, and someone that i never knew and will never know again. Anyhow, physical companionship and affection is something that i can not provide for myself. and i know there will always be a hunger in me for that. That is where I need to be careful in the future…keep a man at arms length for a very long time. Oxytocin short circuits me apparently, it’s my Kryptonite.

  8. Dotty, when my husband was killed July 14, 2004, I was so devastated and felt so lonely and so old and fat and undesirable and the thought of spending the rest of my life alone was terrible. So when my now x BF started paying me attention I felt really happy and just out of this world happy that someone like him who had a lot of mutual interests, etc. and that I had known casually for about 10 years in my living history group….just wonderful! He love bombed me big time. Before you know it, the oxytocin had kicked in and Ii was HOOKED.

    Then as I got to know him better I realized he “had to be right” even when he was totally out of h is field, He had a short temper and I soon discovered he still had multiple other girl friends scattered around the 5 state area for our living history region. Then I found out he had cheated on his wife of 32 years and when she finally CAUGHT him she tossed his arse out. I was totally gob smacked that my saviior was my down fall. I kicked him to the curb but went back into deep mourning not only for my husband’s loss but for the loss of my “salvation” Since then I have finally come to a healthy acceptance of my husband’s loss, and I realize there is not a liine forming of desirable men outside my door, and I won’t settle for anything less than an honest good man, so chances are I’m not going to pair up again. At age 66 there are 100 single women for every single man and if you take out the drunks, the severely ill, and the guys over 75, that leaves only one man I would have and that man can get a much younger woman than me. That’s just the fact of life, I have a better chance of winning the lotto than finding another man I would be interested in and now THAT’S OKAY. I’m content with myself because Ii am not willing to settle for someone who is not up to my standards, and anyone up to my standards is unlikely to be out here in the boondocks and I’m not about to go the internet route. That’s how my son Andrew met his Psychopathic gold digging murderous “bride from hades” LOL

    So I keep myself interested ini life, in doing things I enjoy and enjoying life as it is. I get my oxytocin from hugging my dogs and my son Michael and my friends, and I have some wonderful friends.

    Oxytocin is kryptonite for a lot of us.

    • Joyce, you do have a way with words!! LOL
      I had NO idea that the odds of finding a life mate were so bleak! Now I feel better! LOL, not.
      I didn’t know all of your story, not the details of the xBF……..unreal. I don’t don’t don’t understand how a man feels good about himself or can live with himself when he lives his life in this way. They are pitiful children not men and I’m sure it’s all a big laugh to them. I don’t think Skylar, you, Truthy,etc, etc, etc could explain it enoug times, in enough ways for me to really get this. I’m literally in shock and in shock about being in shock! It’s not like I’ve lived a sheltered life……um, like at all?
      Thank you Joyce for sharing this story with me. I need to digest it and absorb.
      Hugs to you Joyce (cyber OXYtocin!)

    • When you narrow it down that way… lol

      One of my mothers elderly friends put it this way- “At my age the men are looking for either a nurse or a purse. Sometimes both!”

      One of my friends thanked me just this morning for passing this along to her. She is dealing with a man who is not in her best interest and until she cuts him out of her life completely, she thinks about this while he is ranting about all of lifes injustices towards him.

      • GREAT quote Pixie, and so true….SO TRUE!!! It would be nice to share my life with a caring competent man, but you know I am not interested in supporting some old fart or taking care of him because he has abused his health his whole life. And frankly the only guys that have shown any interest in me have been ones who were looking for something besides companionship, friendship and a monogamous relationship. Nah, I’m just not about to “settle” for some guy just to not be “alone.”

  9. Dotty, you have mentioned on numerous occasions that physical affection/touch is one of the things that hooked you with the spath. Okay, let’s take that fact and run with it.

    ~~~really, really long response, here~~~

    ** children raised in dysfunction are most likely to be starved for attention, affection, affirmation, validation, and APPROPRIATE physical contact

    ** children raised in dysfunction carry tremendous shame-core issues through NO FAULT of their own

    ** children raised in dysfunction were never taught by the people that they were OBLIGATED to trust how to construct and maintain even the most basic of boundaries

    ** adults who are the product of a dysfunctional family dynamic are ill-equipped to live a healthy life, on any level, and often mistake predatory behavior as ATTENTION that they so depserately need as a result of being neglected, abandoned, dismissed, invalidated, and ignored AS CHILDREN

    ** we are NOT deserving of blame for the carnages of predatory human beings when we DID NOT KNOW that predatory people even exist, EVEN if we were aware that something was amiss and ignored this gut-feeling

    Self-blame is common among those of us who have survived a dysfunctional family dynamic. I was “blamed” for “letting” my mother drink – at age 5-6, this message was conveyed, clearly, even though I do not believe that my father EVER intended to create a shame-core. But, as time went on, it was obvious that I was never up to snuff according to anyone’s expectations. Whether it was intentional or not, the effects were the same: Truthspeak must accept the responsibility for the happiness and caring OF others’ above her own needs, or she is a BAD PERSON. I had already received the message that I was, indeed, a “bad person” and it was my personal task to NOT be viewed or perceived as “selfish” or “bad.”

    It has taken me this long to understand that I am not deserving of shame or guilt, Dotty, and it’s going to take a LONG, long time for me to sort all of this out. But, I’ve made the choice to do the work rather than waste any more of my precious time on things that don’t really matter, in the long run. It does not matter or factor into my personal recovery WHY or HOW either exspath could have perpetrated the frauds and abuses that they did. I cannot change what happened. The only thing that I can change is my own thought processes, my systems of beliefs, and my approaches to decision-making to reflect an interest in ME, first, above all things. If I am not emotionally healthy, I cannot, in any way, face the world with confidence. My own personal “neediness” was apparent and obvious to ALL human predators and – getting back to the topic of triangulation – MY NEEDINESS was at the core of every triangle that every predatory human being developed with me, and I can clearly “see” this to be the truth where I’m concerned.

    I recently recounted an experience of being drawn into a visible triagulation when I attended a crafting event with a friend. HER friend has a personal agenda and intent, and I “got that” the first time that I ever met her. Within the blink of an eye, I found myself drawn into a conversation that began discussing current social behaviors and wound up being ME as the focus of ridicule for having been robbed and defrauded by my former spouse. I could see it coming. I could smell it. I heard the words and recognized it as an emotional snare. Yet, I was compelled to give in to the NEEDINESS to be accepted and “part of the group,” and I paid for that “need” during the triangulation. I actually laughed, out loud, after the episode, and vowed to PAY ATTENTION to my gut, in the future.

    For you, Dotty, the basis of the triangulation was alcohol. It was the lure that was desirable and, yet, repulsive, and the spath KNEW this and used this to his own advantage. Then, SHAME kicks in, and it’s “katie-bar-the-door” because he set you up using your own strengths AND vulnerabilities. Time to get angry, Dotty. Time to REdirect that anger where it SHOULD be focused: on HIS predating YOU using your own issues as tools against you.

    Self-blame is like what monks used to do. Self-flagellation was a ridiculous and abhorrent attempt to appear contrite by whipping one’s self – by beating one’s self up. That is the basis of that phrase, “Don’t beat yourself up about it.” Literally. IF other people saw that we were punishing ourselves ENOUGH, then we would be forgiven of our “sins” and so forth. It’s all bullshirt, right? How is beating one’s self up going to affect TRUE healing and recovery?

    Yeah, we didn’t “see” what was coming down the pike because we weren’t TAUGHT to be cautious and see to our OWN needs, first. We were taught, as children, that we weren’t WORTHY or DESERVING of safety, security, validation, love, and all of the rest of the important things that help an innocent child develop into a healthy and productive adult. It’s all a cycle, and you have the power (literally) to put an end to the cycle of shame, guilt, self-blame, and self-flagellation. It just takes time and a lot of self-love and, for whatever it’s worth, you are deserving of those “good” things and have the ability to provide them to your Self (Self = soul). If we look to others for our validation and acceptance, then we’re going to continue the cycle. Spaths and predatory human beings KNOW this, and that’s how they grab us by our nostrils and drag us through their cesspools of shame, guilt, and degradation.

    • Truthy, Your post brought tears to my eyes and thank you for what you so beautifully wrote. I really need to get my shirt together and print some of the most helpful posts. Make a little note to self book.
      What lends credence to what you and so many others share is the fact that everyone, all the victims are so perceptive and aware. It’s not like these sites are filled with a bunch of clueless people. THAT to me says that this is a case of having been “drugged” by these predators in what ever way was the most effective for the victim. For me it was physical touch and the promise of a life long companion and creating utter mental and emotional turmoil and confusion in me.
      I’ve always been alone in life, to one degree or another. Im never unaware that I’m not “part of” a family because I’m not “of” my family. I FEEL that. Im absolutely certain the fact that I’m adopted is at the core of many of my more dysfunctional choices and I’m positive that the Spath targeted and exploited my emotional needs and vulnerabilities……to pay me back, use me up, entertain himself, and god only knows what else. Next time maybe he will choose a total emotional cripple to prey on. DISGUSTING!!
      That said, I did try to stand up to him, question, ask, take care of myself, etc. There was just too much confusion for me…..I just couldn’t keep my feet under me. it was just too much for me mentally. I’d loose track of what happened when and how it happened and who said what and when they said it……he was always undermining me in some way that I could never prove but I’m certain of it now. THAT is why I didn’t do more to confront and stand up for myself…..I couldn’t PROVE what I thought was really going on. I didn’t want to falsely accuse him or accuse him if he would not admit it…..OMG!! It was such a mess…
      I wish I could hug all of you. I can’t tell you how much Skylar’s and Joyce’s websites have helped me. Honestly, I can’t imagine where I would be without them and it scares me to think about it.

  10. Good points, Truthy. We all have vulnerabilities to various things, oxytocin is one of them, approval is another….some of us are more needy for these things than others due to poor families when we were children, genetic tendencies for alcoholism and other addictions, but the bottom line is that WE MAKE CHOICES, and we get the consequences.

    NO one has the “right” to abuse someone else or take advantage of their vulnerabilities and many times people who are abusive will do just that and abuse us, but WE must make the choice to stop being abused. Until and unless WE make a better choice the abuse will continue.

    Some people NEVER MAKE THAT CHOICE and they are abused until the day they die. Some people are like Nigella and stay in denial about “I am NOT an abused woman.” They feel the SHAME of being abused, or raped or whatever the abuse is. They take on the shame that should belong to the abuser, but the abuser HAS NO SHAME.

    My mother’s toxic enabling was how she was trained in her family of origin that she should behave, but she KNOWS the truth, she has just CHOSEN to stay in denial about Patrick. Actually for about a year she didn’t correspond with him or send him money, but she kept on reading his letters and he eventually sucked her back in, but SHE MADE THAT CHOICE. The fact that she was raised in a dysfunctional family and trained to be an enabler is NO EXCUSE, no reason, and SHE is responsible for that choice.

    I too was raised in the same toxic environment and I CHOSE to allow Patrick to lie and steal and even though I “tried” to stop him, I allowed it to continue. I EVENTUALLY made better choices and I will continue to work on MY choices and to work on becoming a healthy individual. I will NOT allow others to abuse me.

    You are absolutely right on about validating ourselves. As long as we look to others to validate us then we are dependent on the validation of others for our self esteem. Learning to validate myself, my own truth, is the critical turning point in healing I think.

    No matter how much we love someone, even someone who truly loves us back, like my relationship with my late husband, those people die or leave us in some way, and if we depend ONLY on the validation of that person for our self esteem, then we are not whole and healthy. I depended too much for my own happiness on my husband’s presence and love. So when he died, I unraveled, not only because of the suddenness or the horror of the way he died, but just the fact that now I was on my “own” and that was what made me vulnerable to the love bombing boy friend. Sure grief at the loss of a loved one is normal, but my grief was over the top, and the PTSD after the crash made it even worse. I don’t beat myself up over falling for the guy, but I will never let that happen again with another dysfunctional abusive man. I realize that even alone, I am complete. ONE is a WHOLE number. It is nice to also SHARE a mutual love with someone, but we can not depend for our happiness on the presence or love of anyone. We must h ave an INTER-DEPENDENCE with others not a dependence on them for our happiness.

    • Joyce, Im not really agreeing with the “choice” responsibility in these situations. If I would have KNOWN what I know now, then and chose to be with him anyhow, then I would say that it was my choice. But deception is deception and if I made my choice based on deception then that is not on me, it’s on him! I’m trying to think of an example…..
      Maybe false advertiving? Or buying a car off a lot that is a lemon in a way you have no way of knowing unless you are a mechanic? I really did believe him. I believed that he loved me….even during bad behavior, I believed underneath it all he really loved me. I just didn’t know! You know, there are few, if any people in my life that I have said those words to…..thinking……that I don’t still know and am in contact with to some degree. Like If I say those words to someone, there is an unspoken bond that connects me to them forever? Like I would be there for them if I could, help them when I can,,,,,,the words mean something to me when I say them and I will say that this will be the first time in my life that I will revoke that with someone. That MF’er is done in my life and can not reverse that. Like I said, he’s on the short list, by himself.
      Now, I’ve had people in my past, who were no more than party pals who I no longer associate with but they were not people I “LOVED”? They just faded away and more than likely shouldn’t have been in my life to start with. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that a few of them are spaths! BUT……there was never the type of thing I have been through with spathx.

  11. Dotty

    It doesn’t matter WHY you made the choices you did, YOU MADE THEM. That doesn’t mean you are responsible for the abuse, it only means that you ALLOWED it to continue.

    We must see our own part in this, and admit to ourselves that we allowed this to continue, but in the future we will NOT allow anyone to abuse us.

    We will not worry about what someone else feels about it, we can validate ourselves, if something “doesn’t feel right” or a relationshit is causing pain over and over and over, and the person’s actions are not equal to their words, then we GET OUT of that relationshit.

    1. People who love us do not repeatedly hurt us, that’s the first rule, and the second rule is “people who love us do not repeatedly hurt us. and the third and the fourth. it is the mantra that we must chant to ourselves.

    It doesn’t matter what their “words” are we look at ACTIONS, and we don’t worry about “what if I’m wrong, he’s so nice some of the times?” If someone abuses us, our trust, behaves in an illegal or immoral way we ditch them from our immediate circle of trusted people.

    When we meet new people we observe them in their natural habitat, with their friends and family, co workers, neighbors, and we OBSERVE how they treat these people and what these people say about them. We get a HISTORY of that person’s life and then decide if we want to trust them or not. And if at ANY time they show any signs of malice, envy, hatefulness etc. we ditch them. No second chances. Sure some folks hurt our feelings not intending to, but that’s not the same as lying, stealing, emotional abuse, name calling, ranting, raging etc.

    I loved my husband dearly but there were times we got mad at each other, but we didn’t demean each other when we did. I won’t try to say we always discussed things calmly, because we didn’t, but we still did not abuse each other.

    That’s why we must make informed choices. Even if we make a choice out of ignorance, we still made that choice. EVen if we make a bad choice because of the way we were brought up, we still made that choice. We must accept that WE made the choices we did, and finid out WHY we did so we will not make the same bad choices in the future.

    I was reading an article in the news yesterday about a woman who is married to a career criminal and he is in prison and she has this campaign that the prisons in texas are horrible and not airconditioned. She’s right, prison is NOT A HAPPY OR COMFORTABLE PLACE…but give me a break, if he dosn’t like the conditions, he should not do the crimes. DUH!!!!

    I read several other articles about groups of families of registered sex offenders ex convicts who are saying the registration is UNFAIR to the families and the offender. DUH? If you don’t want to be a registered sex offender then don’t do the crime. It isn’t like these people don’t know it is wrong to rape or have sex with a child, so don’t whine about how you are abused, it is part of the penalty you get when you violate moral and legal boundaries.

    If the families want to stay with these people who have violated the legal and moral laws of our society, that’s their CHOICE, and if there are stigmas to living with a sex offender then I’m sorry you chose to do that, but they made the choice. Not every sex offender reoffends but the majority DO, especially the pedophiles. So I am sorry that these mostly women choose to “love” a pervert, but that is the consequences they get.

    That’s the thing, every crime effects not only the victim themselves, but the family of the offender.

    • Just look at the girl who was abducted by the guy out west though, she was trauma bonded to the guy and had opportunities to leave and didn’t. I didn’t have a history of Spathx, other than what he told me. He had no history of me either, other than what I told him. I revealed almost everything about my history to him and was honest but I doubt very seriously that he, I’m absolutely sure he didn’t, was honest with me. I don’t see a choice as a choice if you are making that choice based on false pretenses and more than I see someone being willing to have sex with someone if they have been drugged. I just don’t. Like I said, it wasn’t just one abuse after another……the most abusive thing of all being the deception and the stringing along. I can’t MAKE his mother be honest about his past. I can’t MAKE his friends tell me, hey Dotty…….this guy is a total shmuck and is getting ready to rock your world upside down because you did A, B, C or D and in his mind you deserve to be treated like a maid/ whore and have your mind and heart f’ed into oblivion. If what I found out over the last month is actually true, he has been saying he loved me and playing “forever” for a long time and not meant it. I would NEVER, repeat never have been with him in any way shape or form if i thought for a second FOR SURE that he didn’t love me and that he didn’t intend to stick this out. NO f’ing way! I do have my pride and self respect. It’s one thing to have a drunken fling here and there but to share my home, body and heart with a predator manipulator liar? No no NO!! Sorry Oxy, I am not one to shirk responsibility but in this case, I will not say that I made the choice to be with the person he turned out to be.
      No one but me will ever know the truth of what all he told me and how badly he manipulated me. I could have handled things just not working out but the intentional games during this and during the aftermath……all deception and mind twisting BS.
      Was her name JC Dugard? I don’t think that past a certain point the word “choice” is appropriate. My friends know what happened, they watched it happen to me, they saw me change and falter. Until this was shoved down my throat I really feel like I was in a trance. I can tell you right now, looking back on it…..It doesn’t even seem real.
      Maybe i will see it differently in the future Joyce but for now, please accept that I respectfully disagree. Maybe i just don’t have enough insight about what really happened to yet. It, for the most part, was all very subtle. Very covert. I just didn’t understand.
      I say wah wah wah to the sex offenders. I do feel for their families though, especially the children.

  12. Dorothy,
    I think that fear presents us with a choice.
    We have to decide to take a risk and run away or live and die in that situation.

    We do always have choices, but it’s hard to make them sometimes. Especially if we are perfectionists or black and white thinkers, we want to make the RIGHT choice, when in reality, it’s usually a mixed bag of good and bad, no matter which you choose. So we freeze and don’t choose. That’s a choice too.

    In my case, I think I made the right choice to stay with the Mofo until I knew what I was dealing with. Because he’s deadly and covert, without that knowledge, I wouldn’t ever be safe. Knowing and him knowing that I know, is safety.

    When we make a choice we need to know what we’re dealing with. They present themselves as the opposite of what they are, so that we’ll never know. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined a person denying their true self to the extent that my spath has. But now I know that too. And it’s very important information to know because liars are everywhere.

    So you were responsible for the choices you made given the knowledge you had. You did the best you could do. There is still more for us to learn, more to build on top of that knowledge. The great thing is that we now have a VERY solid foundation to build on.

    • I wasn’t “afraid” he never raised a hand to me. He just messed with me and wore me down but I didn’t know I was being toyed with so I just kept trying and thinking it would get better. I certainly hope he is not the truly violent type. He has one DV arrest and it’s from a long time ago and from what I understand……was not a big deal but it had to be followed through on because the cops were called. I have no idea what the truth of that is but I think this may be the truth from the research I’ve done. The abuse was mental and emotional, some verbal which is just part of the mental and emotional. i think it was a game of pay back to him and I KNOW he knew I was hooked and invested.
      Skylar, I didn’t know….not until the beginning of the year. I thought it was something that could be fixed, something unconscious on his part. Thats why this has been emotional HELL for me because I’m reviewing the entire relationshi* with different glasses on. It breaks my heart. I can’t describe how horrific it is to think that he knew exactly what he was doing and I was just playing right along unbeknownst to me.I truly was in love with the good parts of him and now I see that even the good parts were bad and he was a stranger, a predator. Im sorry, my choice had nothing to do with that person. OK, I chose to be in a relationship with “him”. That’s all I’ve got.

      • Dotty, we all operated under ignorance of what they were up to…every one of us. Just like they teach kids that “it takes two to fight” but that is NOT true. They teach them “there are two (valid) sides to every story” and “there is good in everyone” both of which statements are ALSO FALSE.

        Yes, we were ignorant of what they were doing, or intending to do, and because we loved them we operated on FALSE information an false beliefs, but we did choose to stay with them.

        Once we accept the fact that we made poor choices (due to ignorance or whatever else) then we can start to work on OURSELVES and learn to make better choices.

        We do not have to feel shame that we made poor choices, because we are not to blame for what they did. Even if we made poor choices they HAD NO RIGHT TO EMOTIONALLY ABUSE US OR PHYSICALLY ABUSE US. NO one has that right. The shame should be theirs, but we must recognize the part in which we played in the drama.

        I really do wish you would read “Games People Play” by Dr. Eric Berne it is available cheap and is a great primer on how we interact in “games” unconsciously, like the drama triangle of rescuer, persecutor, and victim. Realizing that we participated in this drama triangle is the first step to STOPPING the game of musical dysfunctional chairs. Once we see what the games are and how they are played, we can recognize game playing in others more easily. We can also refuse to participate in the games but only by recognizing our own getting sucked into them.

        My family are text book game players, delux version. I was in there with them and my “favorite” role was “rescuer” but even rescuing others is not healthy for them or for ourselves.

        I had a therapist tell me once that the ONLY LEGITIMATE RESCUE IS AN UNCONSCIOUS MAN PULLED FROM A BURNING HOUSE. And she was right. She also told me that I had the THICKEST ROSE COLORED GLASSES SHE HAD EVER SEEN, that if my family told me that cat doo doo was chocolate I would eat it and say how good it tasted. LOL I’ve taken those rosy glasses off for the most part, and I no longer jump to rescue others from the messes they’ve made. I’ve learned the difference between helping someone and rescuing them (i.e. not doing for them what they should do for themselves)

      • Dorothy,
        I don’t believe it’s that simple.
        For example, the video of Russell Brand, clearly indicates to me that he is a dangerous person. He may not stab you in the gut, but he is emotionally dangerous. The anchors were nervous because they “felt” that. But they didn’t run because they didn’t “know” it. And he proceeded to pulverize them with their own weapons: words.

        They CHOSE to continue the interview even though their guts were telling them to run. You could SEE how skittish they were, like a herd of deer. The blonde anchor actually scooted her chair away from him. Her face showed fear, but she said she was a “little nervous”.

        Then the dude anchor… he tried to scapegoat the blond woman, and to focus Russell’s attention on her and away from him. He egged Russell on, “here’s a little subtext, I’m petrified of her… I absolutely love this, keep, keep going” he said.

        My point is that we made choices in ignorance because we didn’t know what we were dealing with, but our guts KNEW.

        I believe that much of the LOVE that we thought we felt was really just a trauma bond that happens reflexively in an attempt to protect us when we sense that we are in the presence of a predator.

        Our “choice” to respond to that feeling of “love” is because we don’t know the difference. Since the spath, I’ve experienced this “trauma bond” several times the instant I met a love-bombing spath. It feels like love, but it’s really FEAR.

        • Skylar……that whole Brand news thing seemed fake to me, staged. I should watch it again and see if I have the same impression but it seemed contrived and like everyone on it was in on it.

  13. Dotty, if you THINK a gun is unloaded or a toy and you put it to your head and pull the trigger, what is going to happen? YOU DIE out of ignorance all be it, but you made the CHOICE to pull the trigger.

    You keep trying to find EXCUSES on why you made the poor choices you did (through ignorance or whatever other excuse you have) but the TRUTH is that YOU chose to drink, YOU chose to be with him even when he continually hurt you.

    This is just like AA Dotty, we must ADMIT to ourselves (if not others) that WE CHOSE the situation for whatever reason doesn’t matter, we made the CHOICE to stay as long as we did.

    That is one of the FIRST steps in healing is to admit that WE made POOR CHOICES. Period and the why only matters so that we will NOT make those choices in the future.

    YOU chose to drink. Now you make a better choice to NOT drink. That is a good thing. The WHY you drank doesn’t really matter it is that YOU CHOSE to drink, and AA and all the 12 step programs will tell you that YOU made poor choices and you have to own up to them. Then don’t make more poor choices. Just like me with the cigarettes. I chose to smoke them because I wanted to…I chose to stop them because I knew I needed to for my health’s sake. I made a poor choice because probably that most of my family smoked so I did to but it was STILL MY CHOICE to do it and to continue to do it long after I knew medically how bad it was.

    Everyone of us has some “excuse” of why we paired up with an abuser…I was still grieving my husband, you were drinking, etc. but we must own up to I MADE A POOR CHOICE. Now I am not going to make poor choices.

    That’s the bottom line in healing, Dotty, so quit trying to find excuses of why you did what you did and being the “poor victim” you are NOW THE SURVIVOR, and that small change is a big thing, Dotty. We are only victims as long as we let ourselves try to find excuses for why we made the poor choices we did.

    Have you been to a 12 step program meeting? Dotty I know I am being hard on you here but you will see that they do not give any quarter for “why” someone drank or drinks or falls off the wagon, they must admit that THEY made a decision to drink. Even if it was because their dog died, or their mommy doesn’t love them, or their spouse left them, there are no excuses allowed. The 12 step programs are based on the fact that we have CHOICES and we need to learn how to make better ones and just saying “I made poor choices where X was concerned” will free you believe it or not. Remember back when we were telling you HOW IMPORTANT NO CONTACT IS and you kept breaking no contact because you just wanted to tell him one more thing…blah blah blah, NOW YOU KNOW we were totally right on, and this is the same thing too, Dotty. You are not assuming responsibility for HIS ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR, you are only assuming responsibility for YOUR poor choices, NO MATTER why you made them.

    Now it is your responsibility to work on healing YOURSELF.Let go of the victim who didn’t know and become the survivor who does know and who chooses good boundaries. (((hugs)))

    • Joyce, I know why I drank and when I was drinking and I didn’t think I was drinking lemonade. I knew exactly what I was doing…..drinking alcohol. I make no excuses for it, never have. HONESTLY……I have never made any excuses for drinking. I’m just not that type of alcoholic.
      I can’t continue to argue this because I would have to describe all the things that happened, all the ways I thought, all the things he said, all the ways he was, all the ways he wasn’t, etc, etc, etc. I believed the things he said and the promises he made. My friends know I did. I can’t tell you how many times I told my best friend that he really seems so sincere,,,,,that something has shifted in him, it just seems different and it did seem different. I can’t say i was in denial…..I really believed him. Maybe Im the dumbest person on the face of the earth but I would have bailed out LONG ago if I didn’t believe him. I can speak about it all now as if he is a Spath but then? I didn’t think that. The abusive things he said……..pale in comparison to what I now know.
      Im not saying this in anyway to be a victim……it is what it is.
      I see how important No Contact is now because I know what he is now. Im VERY glad I broke No Contact when I did because I SAW him through my new Spath glasses and everything clicked. If I would have maintained No Contact from the first time I blocked his email, I would still be wondering and questioning and perseverating and figuring forever! I had to see it and I did see it. THAT is when I really felt a shift around this so I don’t regret having done it Joyce. NOW I am solid in NC. I have no reason not to be. I don’t ever want anything to do with the POS ever again now that I know the truth.
      I don’t have a problem admitting that I make mistakes. I just see how this started, how it continued and it’s all very much too hard to explain.
      It’s easy to say it’s a poor choice after the fact…..once the evidence is in and the credits are rolling. It didn’t seem that way at the time…..I don’t even know how it all happened initially…..the second time. It’s so hard to explain.

  14. Dotty, none of us “knew” we were dealing with manipulators or we would all have bailed sooner. LOL Denial is when we fail to see the evidence for what it is. When we question our own senses that “something isn’t adding up here.” None of us said “Oh, I know he’s abusive but I want to stay with him anyway.” NONE of us.LOL So you are not alone in being in denial, or thinking that you could “fix” him or the situation, we all tried to fix the situation, to get them to see how hurtful their behavior was.

    And because of our ignorance or our failure to see the abuse for what it is, (or was) we made excuses and tried to figure out what we could do to effect change in them. Of course there is nothing we could have done but at the time we didn’t see that or understand it, so we made the poor choice to continue to try to reform them.

    But we can educate and inform ourselves, learn to recognize abuse, even emotional abuse or verbal abuse or passive/aggressive abuse and get the heck away from someone who behaves that way.

    I’m glad you are now solid in no contact and I hope you continue to walk the road toward healing. (((hugs)))

    • I just couldn’t Joyce…..I couldn’t sort it out. Bewildered. Tired, ……idk, a lot was happening all at once. A LOT….. many dynamics. I am very easily confused and overwhelmed and I don’t think right when I am. Im just really seeing this about myself. and I see how stupid I can be and was with him. I guess I should have known better but I didn’t. I will hope the future will be better this way. I’ve always been stupid with men. Their heads are just in a different place than mine and I assume that we are on the same page… I just need to stay away from them period.
      If you see it as a choice, then I’ll call it a choice. I know when i make a poor choice and this just seemed different. I’ve made enough poor choices in my past and this seemed different. Maybe not.

  15. Dotty, you ARE making progress in your knowledge of this situation, I can hear it in your posts….accepting that we made a poor choice in the situation with that person is a step forward…and we are owning our own actions, and the consequences of them, we were abused. But NOW we know better and we can make better decisions. We can do what is RIGHT even if it isn’t what our inner child wants to do. Like for example Little Dotty might like a drink of alcohol, but you are not going to allow her to do that because you know it is bad for her. Little Joycie would like a cigarette but I won’t allow her to have it because I know it is bad for her. So we sort of have to “parent” ourselves and protect our inner child, that emotional child and sometimes she wants what is not good for her and we have to be the adults and say “No, honey, you can’t have that, but you CAN have this” and take care of ourselves.

    I’ve had to do that with several things in my life, my low sodium diet for example, and my losing some weight, and the stopping cigarettes. I know the things that make me happy and that I enjoy so I try to meet my needs for socialization and oxytocin in positive ways.

    So life can be fulfilling on many levels if we just slow down, make wiser choices and strive to take care of ourselves.

  16. Dotty, everyone who emerges from an association or relationship with a sociopath feels precisely what you’re feeling, right now. Confusion. Bewilderment. Anxiety. The whole nasty ball of wax, we have ALL experienced. In my situation, I’m struggling with PSTD and physical conditions that are inter-related.

    And, you are most certainly making progress. YOU may not “see” it, just yet, but you are. Recovery and healing from a sociopathic experience doesn’t ever just end – there is no true “closure” from this unless we facilitate it, ourselves. WE have to provide our own closure because we’re not dealing with someone who feels any amount of remorse or pity for the pain and damages that they’ve deliberately caused.

    Today, we know that we DO have choices. I can choose to watch and observe, and make a choice on whom I will allow into my life based upon “facts,” rather than “feelings.” This became a mantra for me that my previous counselor taught me: feelings are NOT facts. I didn’t necessarily “like” that truth, but it was pivotal in my understanding of a number of issues and how I respond to any given situation.

    You ARE turning a corner, Dotty. It may not be pleasant, but much of recovery isn’t all that warm and fuzzy. Most of my recovery (to date) has been pretty harsh, but the results are positive, in due time.

    • Thanks Truthy. I wish you were near me,,,,,I wish we could all be together in a group. I know my isolation plays a part in my choices in men……..once I’m in, Im hooked. Im a “bonder”. This “man” pig is just the cake topper. the worst POS I’ve encountered and I hope it’s the last. I want to spit in his face. AND,,,,,he a friggin looser!!!!! Forget he’s a Spath! He’s a looser! Bankrupt on every level, divorced 4 times, living in his mommys basement for free, driving HER car on HER insurance, a verbally, mentally, emotionally abusive pig and an alcoholic pervert who sucks in bed!! WHat a catch!

      • Dotty, “isolation” is the easy route, for me. Isolation prevents me from having to MAKE choices and decisions about other people. I don’t have to THINK as long as I’m isolated, therefore, I’m not being a “bad person” by rendering an assessment about someone’s sincerity.

        For me – and, I mean this on a literal level about ME – isolation translates into INSULATION. The space around me insulates me from more harm. And, this is not healthy for me, personally. I “know” that this is true for me, but I still engage in this technique of avoidance. UGH…..just……ugh….

  17. I guess part of it is……I made mistakes, and will always make mistakes . So, I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he reassured me and reassured me and reassured me, on and on and on…..that he wanted to do better and he wanted to be the man I wanted him to be. I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he said that he wanted to quit drinking and be able to hold his head high as he once did long ago. I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he told me something that didn’t sound right of didn’t tell me something, because I couldn’t PROVE it and I didn’t want to falsely accuse him. Basically I tried to put myself in his shoes……believing that underneath it all he loved me as he said he did. Turns out the word LOVE in his vocabulary with me didn’t mean sh*t.

  18. Dotty, same here. And, this is The Lesson: “benefit of the doubt” was something that we, as children, were OBLIGATED to entertain and believe in. In the past 2 years, I have learned that this belief was faulty – “benefit of the doubt” is bogus, and I did the SAME thing with the first abusive exspath, and the second one.

    I don’t “like” that the “benefit of the doubt” is bogus, but it is. So, I’ve made the choice to alter this belief into common sense: a toxic person is a toxic person.

  19. Dotty and Truthy, you are right on the “benefit of the doubt” thing, the “not guilty until proven guilty” stuff is bogus! When actions don’t equal words then there is no need in my mind of any “benefit of the doubt” It is PUT UP OR SHUT UP. I too gave Patrick the “benefit of the doubt” even when I KNEW HE WAS LYING. DUH???

    Turns out my cheater X-BF’s now X wife was verbally and emotionally abused for 32 years and strongly suspected he was cheating on her (she was right) but until she CAUGHT him she didn’t kick him out. She could have saved herself a life time of grief if she hadn’t “given him the benefit of the doubt” for all those years.

    I can laugh about it now. After I broke up with him I called Sue and she said “You know I haven’t had to say “I’m sorry, you’re right” for six months now!” LOL

    Looking back on that relationshit I realize no CLEARLY there were red flags of abuse waving right from the start but I IGNORED THEM. I saw them, noted their presence, but decided to over look them in my neediness to have male companionship. So I made a deliberate CHOICE to over look his faults, even when I know that serial cheaters don'[t change either, and he even admitted to me that he cheated on Sue for their whole marriage, but I just thought “yea, but he will never cheat on ME!” LOL Talk about DENIAL, my river of denial would have floated the Queen Mary!

  20. Joyce, good idea – the desire (and, it is a true and deep desire) to be “believed” when we’ve been abused is universal, IMHO. Victimization comes with a host of emotional/physical/spiritual issues that can (and, DO) run very deep.

    For me, I had to chase my tail for a good, long while before I “got it” about there being nefarious or malicious people out there that weren’t behind bars. MOST “bad people” who predate other human beings and intend malicious harm NEVER see the inside of a local jail, much less the inside of a State prison! Most of these people are walking, talking, eating, breathing, working, and reproducing either in our own lives, or next door.

    So, trying to make other people believe me didn’t result in anything positive and only made me look like a raving lunatic. I’ve counseled countless women (and, men) who are entering into custody battles with an abusive partner about how this is true: the victims are made to look crazy, either by the abusers, or the system.

    Now, I am NOT obligated to “like” this fact, whatsoever. I am allowed to hate it, to despise it, and to feel angry about it. But, I cannot dispute this fact, nor can I change it. So, what I’ve chosen to do for my own recovery is to work on ACCEPTANCE, even if I don’t “like” whatever it is that I need to accept.

    Example: I didn’t “like” the idea that smoking tobacco was unhealthy for me. I don’t (present day) “like” the fact that I am, and will always remain, a tobacco addict. But, I don’t HAVE to “like” those things. That’s not part of the contract, here – acceptance is simply an emotional contract that I agree to: I cannot change, alter, barter, negotiate, or force a different set of facts. That’s it. I can whine, cry, moan, groan, or rant about it, but it’s still not going to CHANGE THE FACTS.

    So, recognizing and accepting the FACT that there are, indeed, human predators and that I am, indeed, vulnerable to their ploys is indisputable and non-negotiable.


  21. Truthy, I think that we are vulnerable to a con job, BUT that said, I think the more we know and grow, the LESS likely we are to be “taken in” because we ACCEPT the red flags, as STOP SIGNS about dealing with that person,, whether those people are inside or outside our family. If someone is an offender, showing little or no moral conscience in any part of their lives, then we cannot trust that person and we must ACCEPT that we don’t have to allow them into our “circle of trust.” That’s just not always easy when we love that person and we WANT to “help” them to change. Unfortunately, just like you and I KNEW from the get go that cigarettes were “bad” for us, we continued to smoke until WE DECIDED TO QUIT. All the nagging from others did nothing to make us stop, but when WE decided to honor the TRUTH of the situation WE QUIT.

    Most people realize that morbid obesity, smoking, drug use, and a lot of other things are “bad” for you, but until THEY (or we) decide to stop harmful behavior, the behavior continues People who break the law, offend the social code and morality and harm others must want to change before they will

    Some few people DO change, but unfortunately most don’t choose to. I do understand addiction, I’m also addicted to nicotine and I know I willl never quit craving it, but I crave it less and less as time goes on, and I know that I will be in better health for quitting

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