Mental Health Blogs

Narcissistic, Sociopathic or Plain Abusive?

I struggle with using the words “narcissist” and “sociopath” and the like in my descriptions of abusers. The words get a lot of online attention and would draw in abuse victims trying to solve the mystery of their lover’s nasty behaviors. However, “abusers” do not fall into any specific category in the DSM-IV (the guide psychiatrists use to diagnose mental illnesses). By and large, abusive people are not mentally ill – even though to us normal folks, it sure appears that they are insane.

Due to some of the comments this post received, I want to clarify that I am talking about cases of domestic violence and abuse – two adults who chose to be together initially until one found out the other was abusing them. There is some peace in “diagnosing” your abuser as a sociopath, narcissist, or whatever as a layperson because your research will also show you these people DO NOT CHANGE and IT ISN’T YOUR FAULT they behave the way they do. This helps you to detach from them.

However, if you are a victim of abuse in a domestically violent relationship, then it does no good to wait around out of “loyalty” or “marriage vows” or any other reason if your abuser happens to actually go to a therapist and receive such a diagnosis. You will become disordered if you live with someone with a mental disorder that science has no way to treat or cure.

Labeling Abusers As Mentally Ill Hurts Victims of Abuse

sociopathIn fact, there is no more, no less mental illness in the abusive population than in the general population. Therefore, pigeon-holing abusers as narcissists, sociopaths, or any other disordered type can hurt the victims of abuse. As a victim of intimate partner violence (IPV, the psychological term for domestic violence), I searched for reasons why my husband acted the way he did. Going through the checklists online for different disorders left me empty-handed. Yes, he was somewhat of a narcissist and somewhat of a sociopath…but he didn’t quite meet the qualifications for ANY disorder. According to psychiatry and the DSM-IV, my husband was “normal”.

This was actually a GOOD thing for me to discover because, at the time, I was looking for an excuse for his nastiness (and a reason for me to stay). I mean, if he had a disorder (like my Depression), then I “should” stick around with him – he can’t help his brain chemicals, right? That’s what I would have thought…and I would have tried to get him into counseling for a diagnosis so he could accept what he’d been doing and change into a nice guy. You see where that thinking leads, right? Straight to more reasons to blame myself for not accepting him as he is and loving him unconditionally.

To complicate matters, stroke victims and those with traumatic brain injuries can emerge from their traumas as very different, very abusive, people. For example, one man’s wife suffered a stroke and changed into an abusive jerk. Part of it is due to depression and the stress of learning to deal with life after a stroke, but part of it is much more ominous. For example, she told her husband that she acted out a dream while he was at work one day. In the dream, she took a kitchen knife and killed him as he watched television. She acted this out by herself, home alone, pretending it was real! She felt compelled.

Is she reaching out for help by telling her husband? Or is she purposefully inflicting emotional abuse? The husband doesn’t know. I don’t know. And if she did it on purpose, would she really tell that truth? There is no way to know what is in her mind. The man must decide for himself when he has had enough of the abuse (intended or not). Labeling his wife as a “stroke victim” doesn’t help him at all.

Labeling your abuser as a narcissist, sociopath, or even an addict doesn’t help you at all, either.

Trying to Figure Out the Abuser Doesn’t Help You

On the flip side of the research, we have to consider this, too: most sociopaths, narcissists, and other similarly disordered people DO NOT seek counseling because they see nothing “wrong” with what they do. By and large, they’re happy with themselves – it is the rest of the world that is screwed up. So, it is possible that abusers DO have a higher percentage of disorders than the general public, but we can’t prove it. We don’t know it for sure and blanketing “abuser” under other disorders hurts their victims more than it helps.

If you struggle to answer the question “Why does she abuse me?” you will find no good answer to the question. A better question is “What can I do to protect myself from the abuse?” That empowering question will lead you toward answers that will help you instead of contributing to your feelings of powerlessness, anger, and pain.

This entry was posted in Abuse in Marriage, Abuse in Relationships, Anger, Helplessness, Hurt, Leaving Abuse, Work Place Abuse and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Narcissistic, Sociopathic or Plain Abusive?

  1. Crystal says:

    Hi, I see your point here and you do make a good one, however, for me part of my healing (still in progress) was finding out why my ex-husband did what he did. I went through the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for psycho/sociopathy and Narcissistic Personality Disoder, Schizophrenia as well. In my personal opinion (not a professional but I do have a good grasp of psychology) my ex-husband is all three of those things. He once told me straight up he sees all people to use as tools to his gain. Part of empowering myself to never be abused again by anyone was finding out why my husband did what he did. I think the whys are crucial to understanding the situation and the better one understands why it was happening, the better than can avoid an abusive circumstance in the future. My ex, according to him, which could be a lie, he was dx with schizophrenia and bi-polar. I don’t give two craps if he has a disorder or not, I was not willing to stick around and make excuses for him. Mentally ill or not, he did what he did and the consequences would have stayed the same.

  2. clara koblosh says:

    I totally agree with this article. People who are abusive or just mean does no necesarily mean they have a mental illness. Some people are simply no good even if they exhibit some symptoms sociopath and narcisistic.

  3. Kellie Holly says:

    It appears we are of the same opinion, Crystal. My point is that, in the end, it doesn’t matter what if any disorder an abuser exhibits. For some, mental illness becomes a reason to stay, to prove unconditional love to a person who cannot return it. I hope my opinion intervenes on those victims’ thought process and they decide to leave no matter what diagnosis they may decide on.

  4. Kristin says:

    I disagree on some parts– My ex husband is a Narcissistic Sociopath. No i did not come to this conclusion on my own either. Knowing this after being in a ten year IPV relationship/ Marriage and then getting PTSD 4 moths after he tried to kill me, saved me from a lot of confusion. It was a blessing in part because knowing that these individuals have no moral, not capable of right or wrong, no conscious, allows me in my long road of recovery not to fall into the feeling bad for him, because he does not have an illness that is of a curable nature or ever able to change the way he is. And it is a progressive thing, they only get worse . They do not have the qualifications to be called human. Sub human is how they are profilled. Sorry not my best comment but extremely tired.

  5. I grew up in an extremely violent and abusive home. My father was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic (with violent tendencies) and my mother a narcissistic sociopath. As a child I didn’t know there was a clinical diagnosis for their behavior. All I knew was verbal and physical abuse. It would be years later that I discovered the names for these disorders. More years would have to pass for me to finally accept that the diagnosis fit their behavior. It helped in that I knew they would never change and there was nothing I could do to make them different. That knowledge released me. I suppose this is a different perspective from what Ms. Holly experienced. I think it is vitally important that the abusers be identified for what they are as quickly as possible. If not, we will continue to be their victim even if we live on the opposite side of the country. The guilt of not trying hard enough to save them will never leave unless we understand we cannot.

  6. Kellie Holly says:

    I understand why we search for answers, Henley. I wanted to “diagnose” my ex, too. I thought if he had a disorder, then I could learn to overlook the tragedy we called our lives. In this post, I am encouraging abuse victims not to look too hard for what is wrong with someone else before helping themselves. If you get out of the relationship (which you cannot when you are a child growing up with Narcissists/Sociopaths and the like) and then look BACK to find closure, then that can be beneficial. It can also be beneficial for victims of domestic violence only (unlike your experience of child abuse), but care should be taken when the victim attempts diagnosis. If s/he isn’t willing to accept that the abuse will hurt him or her (the victim, I mean), then s/he may STAY in an impossible to “fix” relationship.

    I added an introductory portion to this post to try to clarify that I’m speaking about domestic violence, not child abuse. There are two different dynamics there although the behavior of the abuser remains pretty much the same.

  7. Amy says:

    I respectfully disagree. My sister is one of those rare female sociopaths. Knowing that didn’t make me feel as obligation to be around her, as my mother thought it should. It confirmed that she will never be stable and trustworthy so I should keep my distance for my own safety and sanity’s sake. Recently, I was discarded by a narcissistic “friend”. Looking up certain behaviors online brought me to the phrase Narcissistic Personality Disorder but I hadn’t even considered it prior. (Admittedly a psychologist friend mentioned it months before but I dismissed it.) There, in black and white, were the behaviors I witnessed and with them, the gaslighting was dismissed, the confusion about being discarded dismissed, actually even his nontraditional living situation made sense. Healing from his abuse became easier knowing I wasn’t the crazy one and I hadn’t done anything to deserve what had happened. I even saw myself when reading how a victim of a Narcissist often feels. Freedom came from that knowledge. I am absolutely grateful to have found it.

  8. kitty says:

    I agree. Understanding helps, label the craziness, the behaviors, and puts it on the other person. I didn’t cause it and I can’t cure it. AND I can’t live with it, without losing myself. I want a loving, sharing, trustful, respectful, monagamous relationship. Being with an abusive man, will never give me that. I must grieve the illusion of how he first presented to me, realizing I was vulnerable and naive and ignored the red flags. I need to be able to leave when it feels wrong very early on.

  9. Luscious says:

    From your point of view it may seem right, but in my case it was the opposite. My mother was a Narcissist and I did not realize it until 30 yrs later and countless relationship problems.
    I stuck in there hoping I could help them, and I actually fooled myself into believing I was always wrong.
    As soon as I found out that my mother is a malignant Narcissist and my boyfriend is also the same, I cut off my ties to both of them and have never felt better!
    I was able to make the right decision in knowing they cannot help how they are nor can they change.
    I feel that I have no reason to torture myself trying to fix something that is irrepairable.
    I wasted a good chunk of my life believing that they were “normal” people just a little more nasty than others, but could turn around and be normal. Sadly I was manipulated to believe it!
    I do not feel sorry for a Narcissistic Abuser at all, nor do I feel like I need to help them drive me insane!

  10. Debra says:

    OH MY, it’s been 7 years for me, seven years of a living hell and I was so in love and so understanding that it blinded me from what my partner actually was.
    I had made notes on my calendar throughout the years every time something happened, and only until now have I understood what I was going through. It’s a very sad situation when you realize you have wasted years of your life and have shed so many tears & depression over a person who basically just uses you & manipulates your heart, your mind and your life – for nothing but the fact that they have no conscience and they truly do have a psychological problem they cannot fix. Sadly they do not realize how much they hurt others, and that part alone is the scariest thought because they will continue their lives doing this to other pour souls who cross their path.

    I’ve been through it all:

    - lies about his home life, stated he was ‘separated’ only a year later did I find out he was married still living with his wife
    - lied about his job which was non-existant
    - flirted with friends/strangers alike to the point of starting orgies
    - problems with strangers, as he is very blunt and does not care what he says to people
    - problems with police officers, throwing water bottles, hot dogs, whatever he has in his hands after the bar and starts trouble
    - always centre of attention, the joker, the one who goes on stage and entertains everyone
    - very high sex drive / attractive man
    - promiscuous nature, finding out months sometimes a year later of girls he met online/bar which he had one night stands with or a relationship with
    - loving, kind towards me but within a week or two always dealt with verbal abuse over one issue or other which he caused
    - blamed me for problems which arised due to his own actions
    - never met his close friends or buddies or family members to see his other life (he always kept his personal life separate, there was always one reason or another of why it wasn’t possible over the years)
    - puts people against you, alienates you from your family and friends until all you have is him
    - drinking problem, alcohol which made him grab women in bars (breasts, bottom etc) in front of me caught when I wasn’t looking or when he thought i wasn’t around, and there were many times it was done in front of my face & I was told it was just ‘fun’ and drunkeness that made him do it
    - as much as i have a good heart, am shy, very attractive as a woman, it did not matter to him to lie in my face and have no empathy that he was hurting me with other women
    - there were times i had proof of his lies and I wouldn’t let him know what I knew & I watched him casually tell me otherwise like it was second nature, it hurt to see this knowing the truth
    - always stated he was in love with me and wanted to marry me, but constantly cheated and lied nonetheless out of just pure thrill, I believe they unknowingly get some type of high from this to others, the lying & cheating is exciting
    - very intelligent, yet uses this to their advantage to manipulate others

    My last day was two weeks ago, I waited on him all day for a ‘weekend’ he supposedly wanted to spend with me..
    Friday night excuse was he forgot about a friends husband’s birthday party (i wasn’t able to go as i live an hour away) I later found out he was at a bbq party with friends and women he had associations with.
    Saturday comes along, I received many excuses in the morning as to why I was unable to join him at an ‘antique show’ due to him going early at 8am with family, he ended up not going at all as I later found out he as at this party from the night before and was still enjoying the festivities the next day and was lying to me all along.
    I spend the day cleaning my home, changing my sheets, buying groceries for our weekend, buying his favorite wine.. he finally showed up at 7:30pm, said he was tired and wanted to stay in, he wanted to sit in the car when I sat in to let me know of his day while we were parked, I stated I did not want to sit in a hot car to listen to him tell me about his day, I suggested we could go to a book store if he was tired, sit and have a coffee and he can tell me of his day and then we can go home and hang in if he was tired.
    I was stuck most of my day indoors, waiting on him and doing things for us in preparation, it wasn’t too much to ask to step out.
    Mind you at this time I had already known where he spend Friday night and most of Saturday and I was sad, and because I loved him so much I didn’t bring it up not to upset him.
    Well, as we are driving within 10min he gets angry because he wants to tell me about his day (his lies, not the truth).. I had expressed to him only that I would have liked to join him at the antique show Saturday morning ( I had asked the night prior but he said he was tired and wanted to go to bed) in the morning he just ignored what I said & left without me.. keep in mind you I said this calmly, lovingly and politely, as I do not like seeing his anger. Well within 10min into our ride, after me stating only that I would have liked to join him and wished he would have planned it with me – HE BLOWS UP, starts to get upset hitting & banging at the steering wheel yelling and screaming at me of how much stress he has coming from all angles (as he lives with his parents and has a daughter from previous marriage that only lasted 2yrs) as he is doing this acting like a psychotic maniac, he utters ‘im turning around and going home, i had enough of this sh#t’ WOW

    For the first time, I snapped, I don’t know what happened, with his yelling and telling me he was going home after the day I had I immediately opened the car door as he was driving along the lakeshore, I wanted to get out.

    I have never done that before or acted that way the mere shock of what he had done and how he was treating me in my face, knowing full well he is lying to me, was something I will never forget.

    He was in the center lane and he pulled over within a minute and watched me get out. Now, I know he is lying as I received photo proof of where he was and with whom, he knows he is lying but doesn’t realize I know, and yet he still treated me that way? UNBELIEVABLE

    It took me a little over a half hour to get home walking. Not once did he try to stop me from getting out of the car, he didnt come looking for me, but he did text me in capital letters how I could have caused an accident (we were barely going 20km at the time), and how I could have ruined his career (which he does not have, he is still going to college, his 3rd attempt, failing some courses already) but this is how narcissistic sociopaths are.. this is what they do, this is how they treat you and it was not the first time.

    Sadly this happened once before after waiting on him most of the day, preparing for his arrival, he never showed up & cancelled on me using the excuse that I didn’t want to drive half way and meet him..

    I never responded to any of his texts after he made me walk home in the cold that night, I felt worthless, I realized I had been fooled for 6 years.I was numb on my walk home in disbelief that this has been my life

    He has sent me angry emails and texts since this happened, it’s been 2 weeks – I have not responded to any (as he enjoys the blame game and arguing to the point where he wont make you sleep for a week just from you trying to wrap your brain around all the harsh words and put downs he throws at you).

    I always forgave him, for many many things he has done to me, in front of me and behind my back..

    I guess it took for me to watch him lie to me for days knowing the truth, and it crushed me and devastated me to watch him do this to my face and not have a care in the world of how he was deceiving me and lying to me. It took this last time for me to actually realize the relationship was all a lie – I was faithful and loving and in it wholeheartedly, he wasn’t.

    As hard as it is, and has been, I have not contacted him, I have changed my number and I am having a difficult time because throughout the years he has alienated me from my family and my friends. I am alone more than ever, but I had to do this, my life, my self esteem, my self worth is all gone.

    Sadly, the peace and solace I feel not reading or hearing his harsh words towards me, degrading me & not listening to the constant lies & stories, not being manipulated any longer, and not spending nights and weekends worrying or stressing over issues he brings into my life – has been the first feeling of peace I have felt in a long time.

    It’s a daily struggle trying to forget, trying not to call or text, because I was in love, this was what I believed to be my soulmate, my life. But it was nothing but a lie, I was just one of many, for no other reason but the fact that he cannot control his sociopathic nature.

    I don’t know what the future will hold for me, I don’t know if I will fully recover, I don’t know if I will ever heal from this, but I am going to try – it’s all I have left to save myself from this.

    For those of you who have experienced a relationship with a narcissistic sociopath

    Good Luck to you all & God Bless you all

  11. Elizabeth Wallace says:

    Perhaps new people to DV issues have no clue that 10-25 yrs ago this was not on the table for discussion, the closest we got was “Scott Pecks, People of the Lie: and yes, we all need and seek validation. Answers to why someone who has consumed your life, married you, had children with you,could be so cruel with no regard to seek help or mend a troubled relationship is very and justifiably in need of an good answer. You will not find NAMI doing anything to help with questions of mental illness in people like this, even of the nature of having addictions or dual- diagnosed issues. At least, a diagnosis would prove some reason for their behavior. But people like this do not seek help, why should they ? There is nothing wrong with them, its you of course ! A normal, non toxic spirit and daily behavior will recognize when someone is hurting around them due to their actions and reactions, with an abuser who is mentally ill a lack of empathy, remorse, edification of others is not just abusive and cold, it is questionable as to biology, spirituality, food-chemical-toxins. Bottom line here, if this person being presented the problem and possible reasons/solutions sees no need for doing anything, it is time to run and say away problem is when you have children and the courts get into it, living with toxic children who grow into abusive adults, mentally ill or not, they become a lifetime of endless unhappiness. None of this is healthy for anyone. DV and its scope for help, grants or anything for support is far too narrow a field, its limitations seem to focus on how much money a system can make in continuing the victimization for profit and future dysfunctional family members to feed off of, not to support and change a very sick world we are seeing now. Thanks

  12. Kim Miller says:

    I married a man who is physically, verbally, emotionally abusive and a sociopath. We’ve been married almost 5 years and I have BEEN over it, but don’t have anywhere to move to. I have left several times before, only to come back to him because he pays the bills. He only works when bills are due, regardless, he has a history of abuse from 2 former wives. I obviously made a bad decision, but don’t know where to go. I stay hidden in the back bedroom when I’m at home because I can’t stand to be around him. Mean is mean, but this is craziness. Where do I go, besides the shelter, and no family in town.

  13. Kim Miller says:

    He doesn’t drink anymore so no more black eyes, but screams at me if I don’t pick his plate from his lap when he through eating. I’ve allowed this behavior too long. He admits he has a problem, but refuses help.

  14. Kellie Holly says:

    Kim, it sounds like he provides a sense of false security to you. He only works when the bills are due, but I think you could and would work regularly – bills due or not. I don’t know what your situation is exactly. Abuse affects the victim’s mind to the point of believing s/he (you) cannot provide for yourself. What is it that keeps you hidden in the bedroom instead of venturing out to create a better financial situation for yourself? Is there a reason you don’t want to move to where your family lives?

  15. Kayla says:

    I am currently divorcing my husband who is an extreme narcissitic sociopath. He has no remorse for cheating for lying for betraying. It is all my fault. Because after 20 years I do not look the same anylonger. He had go out and find new “supply”. I was always afraid of being on my own. I questioned my self worth, was I going crazy in my head? He kept telling me I was mentally ill and I needed anti depressant medication, which I never took. Not only did he lie to me, but also to our son. He was living a life full of lies. I find strength through my faith in God. He will see me trough this mess. God hates divorces but he wants you to live in peace. That is the reason this deceitful man was taken out of my life. I know I will come out stronger than ever. I am doing this for my child. He does not need a father like this in his life. We deserve so much better.

  16. Joy says:

    I recently became acquainted with the term “Machiavellian”, considered by some to be the third side of the ‘Dark Triad’ of negative personality traits alongside narcissism and sociopathy. The description fits my abuser’s behaviour exactly, and fits with the profile of an abuser as described by Patricia Evans and Lundy Bancroft, though I don’t recall the word being used in any of their writings that I’ve read to date. The Machiavellian type, often associated with political leaders, is willing to use lies and deception to accomplish their ends and will feel no guilt about it. They will promise one thing, all the while intending to do another. They don’t trust the motives of others either. Whilst I don’t think it is considered an ‘illness’ and is not an excuse, it seems to be a deeply ingrained pattern of behaviour that is resistant to change; in their arrogance, they see no need to change, merely to do what is needed to get past the obstacle and then revert to their true intentions. When my abuser lied to the police about an incident with a neighbor, and followed through by lying in court, he could see that I was disturbed – usually he denies lying at all but this time it was too obvious. The incident went to mediation; my husband felt that he had the judge’s sympathy over the other guy. He said to me ‘see, it (the lies) was worth it in the end because I came out on top and he won’t bother us anymore.’

  17. Elsa says:

    I really needed to read this post. I have searched and read everything I can to find out what’s wrong with my husband. He’s both physically and emotionally abusive yet he doesn’t completely fit the profiles I’ve read. He loves animals for a start and seems to have some capacity for love and caring. There’s just this anger and violent part of him. Which is confusing because I wonder if it’s me who brings it out… yet he declares his love for me. And he does lovely things too.
    We’re separated at the moment after a particularly violent episode that left me terrified. I have suffered Post Traumatic stress since and that has made me react in strange ways. I think I am getting a little better now. We have been talking about trying to save the marriage but he’s not keen on counseling…he went to a session but now he’s frightened of what might come out. He knows he has a problem but doesn’t know if he can change. I think he’d like to bury his head in the sand and not deal with it…it’s like he wants to come back but doesn’t. I get the feeling he’s frightened of what he might do or he just wants to keep the status quo. I wasn’t silent this time I told friends and family so now he may feel that his good impression has of himself has been taken down. He has been self destructive at present which is also terrifying.
    I do love my husband and would love to keep our marriage but if he can’t change the violence there’s no hope.
    I thank you for your blog it has been so informative but also strangely comforting because it’s so personal and you address many issues that are not usually discussed. You give me and I am sure many others hope that we too can get through this.

  18. Carrie says:

    I have a blog providing information and support for victims of domestic violence because I finally broke away from a 10 yr long abusive relationship and hoped to help other women in the same situation avoid the hell I went through. Everyone deals and heals from things in their own way but I have found for myself and for 95% of the victims who come to my site looking for answers, once they discover they are with someone with a disorder that is not curable they feel free to leave. If their partner is diagnosed as “normal” they then feel obliged to stay and work it out or feel they are the ones at fault.
    I am sure that not all abusers are narcissists, or psychopaths but I feel the majority are and no abuser is “normal”. Women in abuse will on an average go back to their abuser 7 times before they break away completely, if they live that long. The consequences of prolonged abuse and returning to an abusive relationship are devastating beyond belief. Without fail when the victim goes back the abuse escalates and the abuser gains more control as the support systems of the victim fall away. The mental abuse is far more debilitating than physical abuse in many cases rendering the victim helpless to help themselves not to mention the financial abuse. The reason women tend to go back so often is; as long as they feel there is something more they can do to save the relationship they can not walk away.
    Women come to my site looking for a viable excuse to leave without guilt knowing they did all they can do. If they can give a label to their abuser, such as narcissism or psychopathy both of which are incurable they know there is nothing they can do to help the abuser and feel justified in leaving. Without a diagnosis there is always the possibility that they are the cause of the abuse or they can fix it some how. Perhaps for you it was the opposite but in most cases that I know of when women or men discover they have been dealing with a person who has no conscience and never will, that they are truly dangerous and evil people they are able to break away and start the long painful journey to recovery.
    The danger I have seen is that the victim is always looking for some excuse to stay and if their abuser doesn’t exhibit all the traits of a narcissist or psychopath they think they aren’t dangerous and stay. A person does not have to exhibit all the trait, only 5 of the common traits to be a narcissist, and 20 to be a psychopath and with most people with these disorders they are award winning actors who are able to hide their disorder most of the time and have learned to imitate emotions of others which confused the victim even further. is he or isn’t he mentally disabled? My ex could be so sweet, loving, contrite, promising to change, etc and the minute I went back he acted like he loathed me which he did.
    He didn’t exhibit all the traits of a psychopath until it was almost too late for me. In trust he was exhibiting all the traits, |I just did not see them, as I found out about many of his lies after we split. For 8 years we had a normal sex life, I believed he was faithful and that he loved me deep down and was just dealing with “issues” He didn’t fit all the traits of a narcissist. When I finally left with nothing more than my dog, 1/2 pack of smokes and $5 to my name he was exhibiting every single trait and I feared for my life. His own sister told me she was afraid to be in my company because she feared she would get killed in the crossfire. He was sabotaging my truck, video taping me without my knowledge, tracking me, was physically violent but also preventing me from working, denying me food and medical treatment, denying me use of a phone or computer and telling me it was all my imagination. After we split I found his journals and his website where he chronicled the way he manipulated me and three other women into believing we were the woman he “loved” and how he planned to pick his next victim because I was used up. When I discovered he had gone to Africa on a missionary effort I thought it was the most charitable thing he had ever done and took him back on his return. He told me he had contracted Malaria and had been given 6 months to live, tears and all. I discovered much later that he was run out of the country because he had impregnated a young African girl and stolen from the organization thousands of dollars. He escaped in the nick of time while the native people, and police closed in on him. The organization refused to help him and it was only through the efforts of his mother who begged that they send him home that he got out.
    I knew none of this at the time I was with him, so just because a person does not demonstrate all of the traits does not guarantee they don’t have them, it only proves what a good liar he is.

  19. Suzy says:

    It’s very interesting, frightening & shockingly sad that an adult son remains involved with extremely abusive family pupeteered by mommy dearest & he is just beginning to realize why he feels worried, socially immature feeling inadequate, worthless & depressed! I was an eye witness of her degradating & humiliation rendering his demeanor that of a beaten battered woman with eyes moving & glistening & complying with her demands causing apathy & unrealistic delusions of grander! He seems like he needs a debriefed due to duration of designated scapegoat (“…servant, idiot, lazy…”& as Cinderella for family of intimidating vultures as he gives them entitlement to enter his house unannounced to verbally torturing & ridiculing him in my presence as he curls into fetal position cause he “doesn’t listen”!? Please advice ASAP where he can find help & happiness

  20. rcokymtngal says:

    Wow – what an eye opener it is to read these posts. Some of the stuff I could have written myself. Other parts, I’m like “he’s not that bad – I’m over reacting”. I’m just starting to research this and trying to figure out what I want to do/ what I’m able to do. My husband is retired special forces – and I totally believe that caused him mental damage…from shortly after we were married he has treated me like a “private”. But, he doesn’t go to the extremes – like isolating me. In fact – he often belittles me for not having friends and for not keeping in touch with my family more. I don’t have a reason for not having friends or keeping in touch with my family…I guess I can relate to the fact that I don’t feel worthy of any of them. I have been married for 22 years. He has never hit me and only a few times threw things or punched a hole in the wall. Once he did kick down the door where I had locked him out of the bedroom. But that was a long time ago. Now he is more distant. He stays out late into the morning hours without me knowing where he is….he communicates with tons of women I don’t know (text, facebook, email) and I found out that he had a match.com account. He has in the past (and I believe he is now) monitoring all my electronics (phone and computer). Because the closer I get to leaving, the nicer he tries to be. So for me, I do need to understand why he’s doing this…if he’s “normal” and this is just his personality – then he’s plain evil. And I have a hard time accepting that – and blame myself for bringing actions on myself because he doesn’t treat anyone else this way – EVERYONE else loves him and things he’s God’s gift to this earth. On the other hand, if I find out he’s mentally ill – I did vow to love him in sickness and in health. I myself am bipolar, which he claims is the cause of all our problems…and he has stuck with me.

  21. I respectfully disagree on some points too. Some abusers are just that … abusers. However in order to be abusive you need to have no conscience, no empathy, no understanding of human relationships, not be able to manage your anger, be a misogynist (as most abusers – not all – are men, have no remorse, feel entitled. That sounds like a list of personality disorder traits to me!

    I was abused. I didn’t know it until I left. Then I found out about personality disorders and my ex fit the profile – not exactly – but when researching it (and there is a lot of information out there) he exhibited all the same behaviours. I needed that knowledge. I learned how to deal with him. (I have children with him and have to co-parent).

    If I hadn’t learned about personality disorders I would have gone mad. I would not have understood and kept trying to make it work with him. No I know you can’t reason with the unreasonable.

    And yes, looking back I realise that he displayed all those behaviours from the beginning but love made me ignore them.

    So no – I don’t agree. Many abusers have a personality disorder and learning about it is knowledge. And support. Because there are whole communities out there of others who understand and have to deal with it too. And it helps.

  22. kate says:

    A very good conversation Kelly thank you! In my situation I have to continue dealing with my ex because we have a 12 year old daughter. I understNd about domestic abuse & have worked predominantly from a feminist perspective with survivors of domestic as well as childhood abuse for many years. And I agree with every thing you say about how to deal with abusers. I also agree that not all abusers are personality disordered (which by the way I believe is different from a having a “mental illness” such as schizophrenia, bipolar etc), but I suspect many are.
    i also agree with you that whatever the reasons might be behind why an abuser abuses for the victims is beside the point in terms of there are no excuses & the behaviour is unacceptable & 99.9999+% unlikely to change or improve but only get worse. and really the only & best option is to get the hell out & away as soon and as safely as possible!
    After almost 10months of separation & after starting to recognise the true extent & duration of, in my case, the very covert, consistent & escalating emotional & psycholgical abuse & manipulation, to find out the true extent of what had been going on behind my back for many many years & as a result of the ongoing dealings Ive had to have with my ex (with a lot of expert guidance & support) I am in bo doubt whatsover that he is what is known as a Covert/Stealth Narcissist. The DSM descriptor of NPD (though not innaccurate) is limited and flimsy & only really describes the most obvious stereotypically flamboyant form of NPD.
    What I am learning & absolutely stand by & have found empowering, is that it had been imperative for me to have learned as much about how & why Narcissists (& specifically Covert Narcissists) operate in the way they do, the specific tactics that have bern used on me to undermine my sense of self, reality & confidence in life to the brink of suicidality (NOT like me!) & the exact ways Ive been impacted as a result. none if this is to excuse, or to conpassionately understand the abuser but for my own psycholigical self protection & for that of our daughters. knowledge is power & knowing how the Narcissist operates means I have solid ground beneath my feet in order to understand & learn how I must protect myself & safely deal with the father of my child. it also arms me with knowledge if the things to look out for (the very subtle but typical warning signs, red flags) in the advent I ever cross pathes with such a person again in the future, whether romantically, in the workplace or elsewhere. they are not all obviously abusive or physically violent (although any if them are capable of it) – in fact after 15 years of not knowing what was going on but knowing I was going progressively diwnhill psychologically without knowing it was because of his insidious abuse until it was almost too late & a massive amount of psycholigical damage had been done, I really di wish he had punched my lights out years ago so I could have known immediately he was abusive & I would have been out of there like a shot!!
    The dynamics of domestic abuse are fairly universal & apply also to abusers who are personality disordered but there ate also some unique differences that I believe are cery important to understand.
    I am in therapy & use a specialised support group that assists me with learning to be what I nickname “a sprititual, psychogical ninja warrior”! :D And I am also dealing with the PTSD & the rebuilding of my sense of self, reality & confidence. I am also ysing this as an opportunity to identify not only the very “vulnerabilities” but the very strengths I have (or had at the time we met) that he honed in on, took great interest & pains to kearn ALL about in order to systematically use them all against me. Identifying these as ckearly as possible helps me to know what the vulnerabilitues or weaknesses I have (as a human being) that I need to strengthen & keep an eye on & to identify the strengths that I must protect and keep to myself until I am sure I sm nit dealing with someone who will not respect these but only attempt to exploit & use them against me.
    I have had a lot if grieving & trauma to work through & it is oarticulsrly conplex because of the fact I finally discovered I had been living with a complete fraud for 15 years! At this revelation (which was horrifying shocking at the time) I likened it to realising Id been living in a nightmare sci fi movie all these years & that my husband was a pod person from Inbasion if the Body Snatchers! Covert Narcissists, Sociopaths/Psychopaths are SO cunning they can pull the wool over the eyes if anyone…for years! i diesnt matter how intelligent, self aware, well adjusted, conpetent & confident you are..these people can blindside anybody & suck your sould dry without you even realising what’s hapoening until way down the track. They can fool everybody, including their partners, into believing they are the best rhings since sliced cheese – kind, conpassionate, caring, patient, loving, helpful, selfless & altruistic & in fact they are none of these things except in so far as this oscar award winning acting gets them what they want & “need” in life at any expense..& in fact they unequivocally do not give or are even capable of giving a genuine caring f**k about anybody but themselves…ever!!

  23. Googlethis says:

    My daughters father a man i thought was God’s sent turned to be a sychopath not just him but also his whole family including his x wife im sure they will also read this since they love to google anything related to me. Its funny how a man can have the nerve the balls to talk shit about the women he has children with. In this case he used to say his x was a disgusting nag whom had sexual intercourse at the public children’s library twice with different men while she was married to him and how she used come drunk n how bad of a mother she was during that time etc. and he wanted to ask for custody now he is going the same thing to me and trying to torn ish my character n trying to take my daughter away with false allegations n lies. He was abusive to me n my 12 year old son used yield in front on my baby n his other child making my son cry n his lil one saying how mean he was for letting my son cry etc. i finally spoke n broke the silence from all the past agony been in a high risk pregnancy n had to put up with everything but now i finally took action n wont allow him to do what he wants.
    This is my story n this is the definition of the man i once met n regret
    Sociopaths aren’t just the serial killers and rapists we see on the 6 o’clock news. They are our neighbors, co-workers, friends, family members, and sometimes our “soul mates.”

    Sociopaths are the charmers and manipulators. They are the people who appear together and well-groomed at first glance, but hide many secrets and lies underneath their mask of sanity.

    Sociopaths, in the early love-bombing stage of an intimate relationship, use many superlatives in order to woo and control their victims.

    They say things to intoxicate you into compliance:

    “You are the love of my life.”
    “I have never known anyone like you.”
    “You are perfect for me.”
    “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
    “I never want to leave your side.”
    “You are the most beautiful person I have ever met.”
    “We are perfect for each other.”
    “You are exactly what I have been looking for my entire life.”
    Im afraid he will end up hurting or molesting my daughter. He secretly takes medication very high dose im afraid. He is bipolar sociopath

  24. Karen says:

    Let me start by saying I’m a slow learner. I say this because after 6+ yrs ofdoesn’t cin a part time relationship (I saw him every other weekend), I’d bring up that for this to work, we need more time together – maybe LIVE TOGETHER. He strongly resisted (I love you BUT…..). Out of the blue 1 day he gave me a ‘move in’ date. Within a year I began to notice shady behavior (in middle of the night he’d get up to check his phone – when I asked him abt it he’d say he was checking the time. There was a clock 6 inches from his head). Then he started ‘going to bed’ @ 6 pm on a Sat, shut bedroom door & leave light on – each time I condront him about it he’d scream at me that he can’t breathe, throw his phone at me & blame me when it fell apart. I’d attempt to address the trust issue – we need to be able to have trust in each other so we need to agree that we can check each other’s phones whenever, wherever – he said WHY/NO…Now his phone never leaves his side. I lost my job 8 months ago so now I am dependent upon him for the bills my disability check doesn’t cover (I’m working w/2 agencies to find & secure another job)…I’ve been monitering his email acct & KNOW HE’S BEEN LYING – he browses adult friend finder sites, solicits for sex, etc…I’m desperate to get away from him. I suffer from depression partially due to my disability but this amplyfying it.

Leave a Reply

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

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>