The Psychopath/Narcissist: Why Did He Choose Her and Not Me?!

     There is an extremely painful reality with most survivors that seems to be a huge sticking point in recovery and that is the psychopath’s ability to move on as if she never existed and take up with someone new. This is universal. And because it is, it has been written about countless times by others, but still remains one of the psychopath’s most cruel of calling cards.

Most of the blog posts, articles and books I’ve read about this in trying to find comfort for myself when I dealt with my ex psychopath luring and capturing his new victim awhile back (and all the victims in between), address the issue of the reality of his moving on so fast and why. The reasons for this are outlined with regards to his propensity for boredom, thrill seeking behavior and novelty, his tendency to idealize, while his targeting is very specific to what he wants out of the potential victim, be it money, sex, an image prop, maid, stepmother, mother, trophy wife or all of the above.

Outlining the characteristics of these men (and women too)  is helpful in understanding why he did this, yet it does little to ease a survivors pain because it doesn’t address what she’s really thinking and feeling, in that she wants desperately to be validated. Many survivors seek validation about their judgment in having ended the relationship, whether or not they did the right thing or if they were right about him. If they were dumped, they want to know what they did that was so wrong that he could have left and taken up with someone else so fast, when chances are he was doing this before he left and just found a new victim that will give him what he wants. Remember, psychopaths needs and wants change all the time. There is not a victim on the planet capable of fulfilling them, for as fast as he can attach, is as fast as he can detach from her or anything else he wanted or needed at one time or another from her or the victim after her. . .

What you really want to hear is that he’s an asshole, and that the relationship he has now won’t work. You want to hear that you weren’t  ‘wrong” about him and that’s he’s not changed in another relationship, although he will give every indication possible that this is what he’s done. The articles and blogs I’ve read, encourage a survivor to just “move on” from obsessing about their pain and why he is now with someone else. My opinion on that is a little bit different. It’s very difficult to move on from something when you need validation to do so. So I will attempt to piece meal this a little bit in hope that it helps to you to understand that the chances of his relationship working out with the next victim are: ZERO. That’s right, that’s what I said, ZERO.

Now I’ll explain why.

Psychopaths have no empathy. Yes, I know, you wanted to believe he loved you, you wanted to believe what he said was true, you wanted to believe that no one on earth could possibly be so deceptive and such a lying piece of shit! I know! But guess what? He is. And he can lie, deceive and manipulate without blinking an eye.
It’s very disconcerting and frightening to watch a psychopath target another victim. I got to see this with my ex when he was doing his online dating near the end of the relationship with me. Typical predator. He didn’t bother to hide it once I knew, but he didn’t know I was observing him in order to validate myself about his disorder. . .

He assessed each target according to his needs. Women are often so upset when they see the new victim. They focus on appearances and I think this is typical. I did it too. But what blew me away and changed my perceptions of this in my observances of his predatory habits, was that it didn’t really matter what she looked like. Looks were not a priority for him, this time around. He had moved through an earlier time in his life where he needed a woman as a beautiful, thin, wife and mother prop, such as his first and second wives were, and instead was moving closer to the  “retirement” phase of his life. So he was attempting to date lonely women with money. He wasn’t into younger, more beautiful women. His bank account and the desire to live comfortably in retirement, needing someone to help pay off his HUGE debts from borrowed money and child support/half his 401k to his wife, said it was time for a change!

The majority of the women  he was choosing were vulnerable. All were successful in some way, but much older, overweight, divorced, single a long time, widowed. None were “attractive” in the sense of what he had chosen before.
Once he made this decision, he studied each victim, assessing her for her use value. He studied her vulnerabilities, the things she liked and disliked. He researched her on the internet through Google searches to find out more about her. He found out through face book, what she liked to eat, drink, and who her friends and family were.

He dated several and got down to two potential victims, one of them was an old high school friend that was now somewhat wealthy and owned her own business. She was the ultimate catch, in his mind, but she was far too healthy and caught onto his games. She wouldn’t have anything to do with him. Six weeks prior to asking the current wife to marry him, he made one last attempt to “date” the target with the most financial value. She ignored him. So he went in for the kill with victim three. My ex didn’t even take a breather to “work on himself” between his divorce , his continued relationship with me and its ending and his fast paced luring of victim three into marriage after nine months of dating. But you see, this is what psychopaths do.

HEALTHY men do not want to get married at the speed of light! Nor do healthy women. The value placed on getting to know one another prior to sex or cohabitating, for healthy people is much more important than a psychopath and his unhealthy and/or vulnerable victim rushing into a relationship or marriage.

So think about this for a minute:  This is how your ex probably targeted you. There are some things that will not be the same because the new victim is a different person with different unhealthy boundaries and vulnerabilities. His images of happiness that you see, or their happiness, are just that! It can feel so contradictory, given what he has put you through and I understand this, but the contradiction in itself is an expression of his psychopathy and narcissism. 

You need to remember that psychopaths will “morph” and mirror their new victims. Her interests and passions in life will not be like yours, therefore it makes sense that he will appear to be ‘different” and in a way he is, because he is now pretending to be her perfect partner. What you are seeing, quite literally, is that he has become an extension of her. He is now a reflection of her interests and who she is because he cannot do this for himself. Psychopaths are chameleons, empty to the core. They are different personalities for each individual they come into contact with.

For example: my ex’s last target (while being involved with and just before marrying the new victim), liked eating at exotic restaurants, so he studied up on it a bit and was prepared to dine on exotic foods to which he would never eat again because his need to present a persona with her was OVER. Never once, in ten years, did I see this man eat Kangaroo! But you see, this is what they do. When the potential targeted victim catches on, or he abandons the new victim, he will abandon most of what he presented to the public in being like her, except any new tactics that might work on the next victim.

My ex is also a worship leader in his new church, so image is very important to him, appearing to be a “good” Christian man. His circles have dwindled a bit since the last church that he attended with his ex wife, but nevertheless, HE thinks it’s all good for him and the new victim is not from our area so she has not a CLUE as to his past and he won’t be revealing it any time soon. Those that do know, that are around him, keep his secrets, including his children. This new victim is surrounded by very purposely or self  deceptive people. The psychopath counts on these people to keep his charade going.

His targeting is really quite predictable as are the consequences. The reality is that a psychopath/narcissist will never be short on victims. There are tons of vulnerable victims in the world, a lot of unhealthy people. If this doesn’t work out for my ex, he will simply move onto the next victim.

Now, what about the new victim that stays? Well, how long did you stay? Why did you stay? We can’t assume she is staying for the same reasons and it doesn’t mean that he’s not abusive anymore. It means that she’s willing to buy into all of his bullshit, while he pushes the boundaries very slowly in an effort to gain more control in her life under the guise of  “Baby, I just love you so much, I can’t stand to be away from you”..isolating her further from what was her life before him, including with friends and family. He might “let” her have some remnant of her old life or encourage her financially because it benefits him, but that’s all. 

All of this takes strategy and  and a huge amount of energy and time on the psychopaths part. Some psychopaths enjoy the duping and just like a child playing a really fun game, will keep the charade of “I can’t get enough of you, baby” going until he gets bored or she is completely emotionally dependent upon him. It’s her dependence that determines how long she stays, as well as the psychopaths ability to prolong the honeymoon period, further cultivating that dependency. Some victims are much more emotionally dependent than others. It all depends, but I can guarantee you that she is ignoring a lot of red flags right now.

Dependency is addiction. The healthier a victim is, determines how long she stays. If she is from a childhood home of pathology or is otherwise extremely vulnerable due to another trauma, and is not healed, she will stay longer. You can guarantee that psychopaths assess the potential  “longevity” of their victims based upon their histories and vulnerabilities, her belief systems and his ability to push her boundaries. The healthier she is, the least likely she will stay long and will catch onto the psychopaths oddities, behaviors, lies, intentions and deceptiveness, covered up right now in all that Mr. Wonderful.

His character: This one is simple: A man of good character, who is healthy DOES NOT abuse women. I posted this sentence to my face book newsfeed the other day and one of my male friends responded by saying, “I abhor abusers!”. He’s a GOOD man. The men friends I have are appalled at the mistreatment and disrespect of women. My story and that of other women who have been traumatized by men like my ex’s, are sickened by it. Why? Because they have empathy and to treat a woman with anything other than respect, care and concern, is unfathomable to them, it is NOT apart of their character.
Healthy men, with good character,  will also recognize that they need to take time from a long marriage or relationship, to grieve and to look at themselves, either through therapy or just taking time out for themselves to be alone for awhile. YES, there are men who do this. There are men who ask themselves, “what happened?” and “What changes do I need to make and what do I need to learn from this?” People who are healthy do not run from relationship to relationship, hiding from themselves. Healthy people do not degrade, humiliate, use, lie, rewrite history, omit parts of their histories altogether with new partners, hide behind their mask of Christianity and/or monetary success. They have remorse, do not talk about their ex’s in degrading, humiliating ways. Not even in subtle ways. Healthy men do not need to control, rush the relationship, love bomb, suffocate, manipulate their children, other minion (supporters), to keep their secrets.

They do not need to mirror the likes and dislikes of their victims because they will have their own likes and dislikes that differ in degree from the partner. Healthy men will not triangulate others with the new victim, whether he uses the ex-wife, her children, his children the family dog, HEALTHY MEN DO NOT DO THIS.  Healthy men DO NOT CHEAT. If they do, they make amends immediately and work on themselves and their relationships to change it. A psychopath never will. A healthy man does not sabotage, create drama, have child like temper tantrums, rage out of control, laugh at your pain. They do not provoke arguments, do not twist words, do not blame shift or project blame onto you or others. They do not spend time talking about how awful so and so is and what was done to them. A healthy relationship does not cause confusion and chaos.

They do not tell you that  you are their “soul mate”. They do not assume intimacy and love within the first few weeks or even several months. They do not move in with or marry you within months in order to access your bank account to help pay off their debt. Have I listed enough?

The only thing that a psychopath or narcissist changes is his persona and his victims. Nothing more.

At the beginning of the relationship, during the honeymoon phase, the psychopath is very suffocating in his apparent “neediness” of his target.. He isn’t “needy”, he’s controlling and this is a very critical piece that you need to remember when you think  he’s “happier” with her. The only time a psychopath is “happy” is when he’s got what he wants….and only for awhile, because eventually even the best is boring for him.

It is rare that they don’t cheat. I’ve yet to meet one survivor whose ex did not cheat, whether she knew about it during the relationship or after. Some psychopaths are cheating from the very beginning, setting up their triangulations before hooking the main target permanently. This assures his ability to remain completely uncommitted in the marriage or in a co-habitation situation. Psychopaths are brilliant at hiding double lives. My ex was no exception to this. If you think it can’t happen, think again. We’re talking about individuals who do not feel, they THINK, constantly strategizing to relieve their boredom (another reason they are extremely hyper sexual and that what they have is never enough) and because they have no conscience.

Their entire lives are all about controlling and duping others. They are time freaks and they compartmentalize everything  and everyone in their lives. They usually have many cellphones with easily removable sim cards, as well as multiple email addresses, online dating sites under pseudonyms that he can hide brilliantly from his main target. I do believe that the more unhealthy and vulnerable the victim is, the longer she will stay, the more denial she will have.

The fantasy that the psychopath builds for her from the beginning is very powerful and if she is already at a severe deficit and is emotionally weak and vulnerable, the psychopath will have better success in keeping her in the relationship, no matter how abusive it will become. This is where it’s important to be mindful about your escape and how fortunate you are to have gotten out. The new victim will surely suffer an immeasurable amount of pain in the future. I have seen victims who have relinquished their power completely, unable to live without their psychopaths. It is extremely sick and extremely sad. Believe me when I say you’ve dodged a bullet!

I know how painful it can be to see the psychopath and his new victim in “real time”. Whether in images or close up, but we have to look past what we see as exclusive and bring into reality the whole picture. This pictures includes what he did to you and every other victim in his life and then some. Psychopaths are addicted to the control and subsequent pain of the abuse they create and cause for others.

We literally have to learn how not to want the psychopath anymore. When we see who he really is, the jealousy, anger and hurt about the new victim will be gone. Who wants to marry, live with and/or date a psychopathic abuser? If you still want or love him, it’s because you are looking upon him with eyes of empathy. You’re projecting your feelings onto someone who is incapable of having them. It’s also a reflection of the wounds you must heal, a reflection of your low self worth, forfeited for his opinions of you.

Survivors move forward and most pretty quickly when they understand and finally accept that their ex partner was disordered. ONLY then are they able to switch gears and begin to look at their involvement in the relationship and what made them vulnerable to a psychopath or narcissist in the first place. Changing your perspective hurts. You will have to take every positive thought about him and change it into one that is realistic. His “love” for you, was manipulation. The sweet cycles. The abuse,…well it was abuse.

Part of disengaging and working on changing your perceptions of him and his character will be the removal of your emotional dependency upon him, keeping in mind that this is part of his slime he left you with. As you cultivate your own independence and change the story of the relationship to an accurate one with regards to the psychopaths love bombing and subsequent abuses, it will help you to embrace yourself and your new life more.

And one day, you may see the new victim and feel sorry for her. You may see the psychopath, but he will appear as inconsequential and a waste of air space that he really is. When you can do this, you’ll know you’re getting healthy again.


Follow me on Twitter: Kelli Hernandez@theabilitytoluv
And on facebook: The Ability To Love page.

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139 Responses to The Psychopath/Narcissist: Why Did He Choose Her and Not Me?!

  1. Carla says:

    I left a long message here a couple of hours ago and now it is gone, weird!!!

  2. Angie says:

    I have read numerous articles on this topic, but this is by far the best. Just fresh out of a “relationship” with a N. Fortunately for me, this was my 2nd go-round with this person (15 years in between) and so I had already gone through the excruciating pain of the discarding, character assassination and replacement. Back then, I knew nothing of Narcissism so I believed the lies and carried blame for many years, thinking somehow I must have been at fault. Even up until the recent reconciliation I did not know this person was a N. He apologized for what he had done in the past, blaming others for his behavior. I actually believed him, well…sort of. I guess I always knew, gut instinct/intuition, that something just wasn’t quite right. After the “honeymoon” phase of this “reconciliation” began to wear off, the insidious emotional abuse began. I finally realized as I felt my spirit slowly being killed by this vampire that my only salvation was to get out once and for all. I now know that all those years ago I was never to blame. I was with a N the whole time and never knew it. This was a blessing in disguise. For those of you reeling from the pain of being discarded and replaced like yesterday’s trash, please read this article over again, a million times if you have to. Regain your self-worth and spirit, get support from those that know and love you. These men are only out for warm bodies to feed off of and are incapable of empathy, and they do not need closure. It is not YOU, it is THEM that caused this pain you are feeling, you were abused. Most important thing to remember from this article: the new “love” is only a replacement, she too eventually will be replaced, and this is why the chances of any normal loving relationship does not exist, ZERO chance. It may last longer than yours did, but all that means is that she is unhealthy and got sucked into his toxic web. Be glad you are now FREE to find real healthy love. Don’t look back.

    • Angie,

      Thanks for sharing your story. The article is one of the most read here.

      Believe it or not, as you move through recovery, not any of that will matter. It’s a process….I”m glad you found solace in reading. :)

  3. Lilly Beller says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I think we may be the same person. WOW! I really wish I would have paid attention to the Red Flags. He was good, really good. He told me he had Bipolar, but really, he is a psychopath. He tried to be good, but he was so controlling, angry, yet charming around his family and in public. He has moved on. To who? A widow who is lonely. She has a home close to a lake (he loves to fish) and a cabin in the mountains close to his mother. She is perfect for him. She has exactly what he wants. She lives off of her Husbands military retirements and Social security, plus she works. I want to warn her, but I know that it is none of my business. I am broken, my heart hurts, but my brain tells me the truth. He had so many great qualities. He did so many very nice things for me, like remodeled my home, built me a dog pen, cut down trees, etc. Work Work work. I thought it was his mania. The I would say one thing. He would completely take it out of context. I would not hear from him for a week or two, sometime longer. Then he would call, tell me everything I was doing wrong. Convince me it was me and then come back… How stupid can I be. Thank you again for writing this. I am feeling a little better about myself now. God Bless You.

  4. Mari Moran says:

    Dear Kelli
    Thank you for such great article. I just came out of a relationship with a narcissist. After a week of the break up he had a new girl. His all over Facebook portraying his extremely happy with her and is planning a wedding already. How is that possible is only been 3 months. Anyways, he was very abusive, manipulative, liar, offensive, physically and mentally abusive etc. I could not talk to anyone (specially males), I could not go out anywhere, he had to attend or i had to ask permission. He tells everyone it was my fault. His denying to the new girl he has children because he believes he lives now in a college town (Austin, TX) so he doesn’t want her to know his past. I have been doing some research looking for answers because at one point i thought it was my fault. I kept questioning as to why or how can he be so happy if he had just told me how much he was in love with me. I have taken it as a blessing that he cheated and found a new victim. I finally feel free with every intention to recover slowly from everything he put me through. Everything you say is true, as his doing with her everything he did with me just in a different way. Even asking her to marry him he did with me as well on the second month. The recovery from such a horrible unhealthy relationship has been very hard, but as time passes, i feel so much better alone and happier.

    great article made me feel so much better!!!

    • Mari,

      I’m sorry for your experience. It takes a long, long time to get over this kind of betrayal, so try to be very patient with yourself. Next time you will choose wisely if you figure out how he got into your life in the first place. He does what he does with a new victim in a different way because a. she is not the same as you, her likes, needs, wants are different and he needs to ‘morph’ to who and what she is. But that’s all that changes with these individuals. He will repeat the cycles with the new victim, so much so it’s predictable. I know it’s painful, very much so, but you can and will recover with time. I’m glad the article helped!

  5. Chrissy Phillips says:

    Kelli, and the rest of the ladies that have posted;
    Thank you so much for sharing my same story. I’m getting out of a one year marriage with a Narcissist and it’s the same thing you all have stated. He morphed in to me on so many levels and had zero boundaries. He was like being with a child emotionally. He pouted, through tantrums, ran to mommy and daddy… He treated his fifteen year old daughter like she was his wife while ignoring and making fun of his 17 year old daughter behind her back. We got married and I moved in, it was AWFUL immediately. We were married six weeks and I was terrified of the choice I’d made. Then he told me (and still says) I had no integrity because I didn’t “try to understand his situation”, then he attacks me emotionally because I had a traumatic childhood (and narcissistic mother) then he finishes it with, “But you’re the most amazing person I’ve ever known and I’m deeply, deeply, in love with you.” (yes, he used two deeply’s)

    He HAPPILY took all of my paycheck which I later discovered helped him pay off many of his debts, then he hid 30,000+ in another account without my name on it. Then he “didn’t mean too and is sorry it looked that way”.. but never put a penny back in my name,. He’s a lawyer, you can imagine how excited I am (not) to try to take him to court for this divorce. I’m just walking away and learning a good lesson. Everyone on the outside likes him, they completely buy and believe the same personification that he projects that I also bought. He’s such a liar, he’s malicious and has no sympathy for anything. He pouts and everyone has felt sorry for him, his story has been, “I’m a single dad and I have two teenage daughters and she just couldn’t live with that..” It’s a total lie.

    Unfortunately, all of the signs were there before I married him. He kept trying to get back with his ex wife, telling me he was just “torn over the loss of his family but he loved me more than anything in the world”. I’m embarrassed to even begin to say what all he did….

    Thank you again for your posts – I know I’m not alone in the world and waking up in the middle of the night thinking, “How stupid am I and how did I get myself in to this…”

    Prayers for all of us,

    • lauren turner says:

      I am still trying to recover from all of the pain my ex psychopath caused me. In the beginning, everything was perfect. He whined and dined me, brought me nice things, and was so attentive and appeared to be in to me. During this time I did notice some red flags (rage, impulsiveness, being inappropriate at times) however I chose to ignore because I had already fallen head over heels. The psychopath eventually ended up asking me to into his home with my children. Worst mistake I could have ever made. I gave away everything that I owned because I believed my fairytale was coming true. My psychopath ex was extremely charming, had a nice big home, along with nice cars. I was living in a fantasy. Well as you can imagine, things began to change not long after I moved in. He suddenly felt that things weren’t working between me and him and thats when my nightmare began. My children and I constantly walked around on egg shells, and he became emotionally detached from me. During that time, I tried everything in my power to make things right and nothing I did was good enough. My ex psychopath put me and my children out of his home after only 9 months of living there. As you can imagine I was devastated. Not only because of the pain that he had caused me, but because of what I had put my children through making the decision to move in with this sick individual.

  6. E says:

    Dear Kelli,
    Thank you so much for writing this post. I was recently involved with a sociopath/narcissist. He was pursuing me while he still had a girlfriend. I fell for all his lies and tricks. Once his girlfriend broke up with him he really started the love bombing phase. Asking me to marry him and that he loved me and wanted to be with me even though we were oceans away and we couldn’t date. I played along but it didn’t take too long for him to claim that the situation was to difficult and if we were to date we had to keep it open but that if he got a girlfriend close by he would just stop talking to me. He also tried to pressure me into having sex and doing other things I didn’t want to do. When I refused he became completely horrible to me. So I stopped talking to him and I found out he immediately had a new girlfriend who he got married to after only dating her for 2 months. He is 25 and this girl is 32. She quit her job and moved countries to be his housewife. When I found out I was very upset because I still liked him and wanted to be with him. The questions kept coming up of why her? Why not me? I’m so glad I found your blog. It helps me get through my day and answers all the questions that keep popping into my head. It’s still hard not to like him and want to be with him but I know I’m better off. I do have a question for you though. Do these types of people have friends? And if they do, do their friends know how horrible they are? Also are these people ever happy with their lives?

    • Hi E,

      I’m glad you found the blog, but I’m sorry for the reasons why.

      Your questions are very good ones and I’m happy to help answer if I can.

      Do they have ‘friends’? Of course. Many psychopaths, particularly those who are ‘successful’ in some way in life, professional or personally, are those with higher levels of narcissism and to which the public mask is so believable that people do not give consideration to what this person may be at home. Abuser are not likely to make their tactics known to those closest to him (or her) and the victim, as blatant abuse is not ‘socially acceptable’ (although I question this now, given the society in which we live).

      Anyway, abusers are brilliant at compartmentalizing their lives as they have been doing it all their lives, so their friends do not know what they are really doing in private and behind closed doors to their victims. There is no such thing as a ‘true’ and evolving friendship with a psychopath or narcissist, as the have no empathy and would only accept a ‘friendship’ on THEIR terms, oftentimes unbeknownst to those they are friends with. Their relationships are shallow because they are incapable of empathy and consequently, utterly meaningless to them unless that ‘friend’ serves a purpose in holding up the image that the psychopath wants. If a friend of a psychopath has friends with conscience and who perceive the psychopath as a ‘close’ friend and are more interactive with them, it can still take YEARS to see under the mask, while others will ditch the psychopath when realizing they are unable to give, if the psychopath doesn’t discard them first.

      Happy? That’s a bit of a loaded question, E. Is anyone really ever genuinely ‘happy’?

      To the extent that they are happy in the same sense that those of us who are capable of empathy and conscience, the answer is no. But a psychopath or narcissist, without empathy, would perceive ‘happiness’ in the value that each relationship or circumstance has for him/her, what can be given to him ONLY. They are ‘happiest’ when duping and harming other people. They are ‘happiest’ when in completely control of their environment or in control of others. But as you might guess, that is not happiness in the truest sense. Psychopaths lives are vacuous at best. The walking dead, the soulless. They cannot be alone because their very self is held up by others, in particular, intimate family relationships. They are energy vampires, lost without the ability to feed off the emotions and personalities of other people.

      Psychopaths are very good at the APPEARANCES of being happy, especially when it comes to presenting that image to their ex victims in an effort to hurt that ex victim more, all part of a psychopath’s life, engineered for game playing, from the time they open their eyes to closing them at night.

      I hope that helps answer your questions.

      • E says:

        Thank you for your answer. It helps a lot to know these things. Right now it is really hard for me because my psychopath is acting like he changed since he got married. For example, now his facebook is very private and he hasn’t gone on the dating site he once used to go on. I wonder if he is actually treating his new wife with respect. I know you said that the chances of his next relationship working out are zero but it still bothers me.

        I actually had to break no contact when I found out he got married because I was so upset. I called him and he told me that I should move to his city to become his mistress. Then he started flirting with me. He also told me how the sex with his new wife was getting boring. He said that HE wouldn’t have sex with girls but the GIRLS would have sex with him so he wouldn’t be cheating on his wife. This was only three days into his marriage. I guess these are signs that he hasn’t changed but maybe he’s still wearing his mask in front of his wife. Also from what he’s told me his wife is very submissive and lets him do whatever he wants. Which was completely unlike me. Also he told me earlier how he had been cheating on his wife when they were first dating but that he felt bad about it. Does that mean he actually has feelings and empathy?

        I just can’t see how someone can get married so fast and out of the blue. I keep thinking when are they going to divorce? What if they have a baby? I feel like I really need his marriage to fail in order for me to feel validated. But I feel like he’s one of those guys that wouldn’t get a divorce just to keep his image in check. But I guess none of that matters anymore. I’m just trying to move on and find a nicer guy so I can forget about him.

      • “I called him and he told me that I should move to his city to become his mistress. Then he started flirting with me. He also told me how the sex with his new wife was getting boring. He said that HE wouldn’t have sex with girls but the GIRLS would have sex with him so he wouldn’t be cheating on his wife (WTF?). This was only three days into his marriage.”

        This is a perfect example of why those of us who have been there are so ‘hard core’ about no contact, E. It creates confusion, cognitive dissonance within you, even though his sickness is more than obvious. A good man would not say, nor do these things let alone a healthy one. Especially not to an ex. He exploited your willingness to hear his tall narcissistic tails of how great he is, how wanted he is. This is very, VERY sick behavior. “Also he told me earlier how he had been cheating on his wife when they were first dating but that he felt bad about it.” Someone that ‘feels bad’ about cheating, doesn’t turn around and do it again. When Psychopaths/narcissists ‘say’ things like that, they are doing it to manipulate you. They pathologically lie about everything. He is no exception to this rule. His wife’s submissiveness is not your problem, that is hers now. Psychopaths are exceptional at conjuring up images with their new victims as blissful and somehow that he’s changed. Another reason why we do NOT engage because this is precisely what he wants you to think and to believe. We never ‘have’ to break no contact, E, we choose too. It wasn’t necessary to break no contact because you were so upset about his marriage, it was a choice that you made and one that is obvious in how it has hurt you, which is ALWAYS the psychopath’s intent.

        There is a problem within us when we cannot discern healthy behavior from obvious unhealthy behavior and we have to question ourselves about it. Focusing on them, takes the focus off ourselves and in trying to figure out how we let someone like this into our lives in the first place.

        It takes a long time to heal from these relationships. It is a slow and painful process, but we take several steps back in our recovery when we have contact with them. There is part of us that wants to believe there is a ‘human’ and empathic side to these individuals, but there isn’t. We are shown that every single time we engage.

        Trust me when I share with you that this man is very, very, very, VERY sick and it’s a good thing that you are free of him completely. As far as the new victim goes…she will have her time too. I feel so much pity for her in all that you’ve shared here, as she knows nothing…she will have to learn the hard way, like we all have, E. It’s not up to you to worry about their marriage or what he is or isn’t doing to her. Again, that’s a distraction from you….it also keeps you from a true grieving process and a genuine letting go of this man. They beat us down so much, that we are left with little of ourselves and are wildly emotionally dependent upon these men. In the end, some of us will do just about anything, to a very twisted degree, to have contact with them, after they have spent our entire relationship with them, exploiting our need for them, through deprivation and abuse.

        Finding a nice guy to forget about him, will have you in the same psychopathic boat as you are very vulnerable right now. I think it would be very wise to be alone for awhile, if you can, find a therapeutic outlet for yourself. Get to know yourself better and time to heal from this relationship. When you are looking for someone else to take away the pain a psychopath has caused, it’s a sure bet that you’ve not learned to love YOU yet. It’s a lot of work, and it takes a lot of time, but I can tell you that, for many survivors, the time and the work make a HUGE difference in their choices later on when they realize they don’t NEED a man, but that they are willing to wait for the ‘right’ man, IF he comes along at all. Some survivors learn to enjoy being alone so much, they don’t WANT to get involved in another relationship and instead find things to do that make themselves happier and more at peace.

        Once you’re away from the drama for awhile, E, you will reach the point where you’ll build a huge repulsion to it. When that happens, you know you’ve made a lot of progress in your recovery.

        No contact, E. The more contact you have, the more you will doubt yourself and give him validation.

  7. Julie Rohlfs says:

    Thank you for your information. I too was with one of those. I still suffer daily from the pain, trauma and abuse I suffered from this guy. My depression has been so severe I have felt like my life is over. I still don’t know how to pick up pieces. I lost everything because of him including my job. While I am raising two of our kids and trying to figure how to re build my life he is off with his new victims.
    I pray there is a hell and they suffer all eternity.

    • Julie,

      I’m sorry for your pain, but understand it well…

      Your desire that justice is done in some way, hell included, isn’t limited. Many survivors feel as you do and it’s completely understandable.

      Healing takes a long time. It is never fast for survivors who are dealing with the consequences of having been with a psychopath.

      • Julie says:

        Hello everyone it’s me Julie,
        I just wanted to share a little again and hope my story relates with someone and I won’t feel so alone.
        Today is the anavirsary date of meeting my predictor 7 years ago. God how I wish I never met him. It’s been two almost three years since I finally left him. I left him hundreds of times before, but always went back after he would beg and plead, attempt suicide, saduce me mentally and physically into believing how much he loved and needed me. He chronically cheated on me with his ex wife and women he was meeting on line and our coworkers. Yes, I met him at my job. Biggest mistake I ever made. He was sooooo good looking, charming, wrote me the most beautiful things any woman would love to hear. And sexually!! Best I ever had. On the flip side called me the most disturbing and discusting things, forced me to do sexual things, slapped me, shoved be to the ground, pulled my hair out, told me I was old and no one would ever want me, told me I was terrible in bed, tried to force me to have abortion with our twins, humiliated me at our job with whores he was sleeping with. I could go on and on I still have not recovered. Police where involved so many times. He new how to con that too. After finally leaving are job and a mental break down and severe depression he was still sending his new women to my door. The restraining order is up this December 2014 I pray to god he will not start showing up again. I hate my life now. I am now middle age, no job, and raising our twins. Scared to death what I will become now. I hate the fact I was so lonely and so nieve I fell for this piss of work.
        Never in my life have I ever been so humiliated. The abuse, all the lies were one thing, but finding out he was on face book the whole five years I was on and off with him he was seeing all these other women. I feel dirty down to my very core. I will never trust again. The only thing that I can say as to why I put up with this from him is that I had an alcoholic dad that abused and abandoned me too. To this day no relationship with him. Well
        That’s all for now. I pray that some how some way all of us survivors will some how find peace.

      • Julie…

        If you’d like to discuss this more privately, PLEASE feel free to email me anytime…

        I’m so sorry for your pain and your current situation. I can really related to this right now, so I really don’t have much to offer you in the way of comfort about your future (part of this is trying to exist in a pathological society where mysogyny runs rampant via psychopaths in power), but what stood out to me in your post, was the following: “The only thing that I can say as to why I put up with this from him is that i had an alcoholic dad that abused and abandoned me too.” YES….

        There was a time, a long, long time during early adulthood that I believed that my past played no role in my choices or my future. Divorced from the reality of the severity of the abuse I grew up with, had absolutely NO safety from out of any adult, I believed that it was ‘all in the past’. It was quite the wake up call when three years ago I came to awareness when my last relationship ended and I could clearly see my participation in the choices I made….it has been excrutiating dealing with that reality. I vacillate between blaming myself, engaging in self flogging, to a pathological degree. Shame and guilt were the dark forces that followed me my entire adult life and unless you have been there, it would be very difficult to understand and to deem these as simply ‘poor choices’. It’s easier to do that to someone who has endured extreme abuse, than it is to provide the intervention and resources needed to help heal them. You are re-victimized with the very act of leaving by a society who does not support people in pain….

        I will not sit here and tell you not to feel the pain and terror you must be feeling. That invalidates you and I won’t engage in it as I suspect you’ve had enough of that…

        I can only share that with your beautiful babies, to just hang in there…my children are grown and gone and I can’t change so many things that I wish i could in having given my adult life to two psychopaths, one of them my children’s father. Your children have a chance, with your awareness to have a better life, for a cycle and pattern to e broken with all that you’re discovering.

        Please know that i hear you. I HEAR YOU…..

  8. mememcgee says:

    This was one of the most helpful pieces on the subject I have ever read. & I have scoured, & the top 1/2 dozen books on what I call average psychopathy (non-Charles Manson Ted Bundy level psychopathy).

    The hardest thing left is trying to understand why. & as an empath, I know I will never understand. But that is the last sliver that keeps infiltrating my brain.

    Again, thank-you.

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  10. puttingitback2gether says:

    This was exactly what I have been searching for. I cannot thank you enough.

  11. I had read this post couple of months ago when I was freshly out of the relationship with my psychopath, and all this was really hard to believe. after reading this again, I can so much relate to this, and I absolutely love everything you’ve wriiten.

    I have also been reading/ studying about ted bundy and Jeffrey dahmer, I know they’re notorious killers, but it has actually given me some kind of closure.

  12. Kim says:

    I can’t find you on facebook.. I put in ..the ability to love… I can’t find it

  13. Kim says:

    I just want you to know that I have been reading articles since last June on abusers. I didn’t even know narcissist’s even existed.. I can’t beleive I feel for this kind of man. It was pure physical attraction and then sexual.. But I get it now, unfortunately I have a child with him, but this man is just all out” a piece of shit” like you said.. I would love to message you personally..your article is by far the BEST article I have read yet, and let me tell you I have read a lot , but you sooooo nailed everything together for me.. He even called me BABY and PRINCESS, total manipulating me into his derranged mind..Anyways I really want to find you on facebook..

  14. Stacy W says:

    It’s been almost 2 years since I left my Narc/BPD relationship. One of the most painful parts was having to physically leave the place that I loved, my home because I knew after many years that if I stayed physically in the same place as him I would always be manipulated back into the same bullshit. I’m reading and writing because though I am in a healthy relationship with a wonderful, kind person now I still feel haunted and often have dreams that make me relive the pain over and over again. I have been perplexed because it’s been so long. I should be over it, right? Well, I’m not and I feel guilty and weak that I’m not over it. Right after I left Brett Gyllenskog swooped up one of my good friends, she was moved in with him within a month of me leaving. I thought that she was one of my best friends. I just have to remind myself that I also fell victim to his manipulation so many times. I thought it was my fault that I wasn’t good enough and that perhaps she is but I know now, from lots of therapy, that there is NO good match for a narcissist!! She is now in the same pain I was and although my hurt and anger are still here ultimately I feel pity on her.
    I just wanted to thank all of you that have commented and to those who wrote the article. Especially all the parts about, sleep, reactive depression, nightmares, etc.. I thought I was crazy and totally lame that I still carry the pain around and dream of him and her so often still.
    All of this has helped me feel okay about where I’m at and helped me to see how damaging these people and relationships can really be. I don’t have to feel so crazy and weak anymore about still reeling from this experience.

    Research characteristics of “REAL” Narcissistic/Borderline/Anti-social… Personality Disorder!!! It’s not just someone who think’s they’re pretty awesome and likes to look at themselves in the mirror. It’s so much more.

    Our society’s casual idea of what Narcissism is NOT the reality! They will manipulate you every time you try to leave. You feel like you can’t go on without them because they have groomed you to feel that way. That’s not real! – even though you feel physically ill and overly fearful at the thought of leaving. I promise that It will never end! It is impossible for them to change because of the type disorder they have does not allow them to look at themselves the way that we can and they NEVER will be able to.

    So ultimately please hear my advice…(I do realize that kids and marriage make this even more complex and difficult)…

    BUY YOURSELF A PLANE TICKET TO SOMEWHERE SAFE AND AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT….BECAUSE IT DOES!!!….even if it means leaving everything you love and where you want to be.


    IT’S A LIE!


    REMEMBER THEY ARE NOT WELL – THEY ARE MENTALLY ILL….you can expect “normal” behavior from them. So STOP TRYING!

    Love yourself and don’t look back.

    Lots of love and kind regards to all of you xoxo

    • Thank you for your comment, Stacy and the advice.

      If a survivor can move, and has the means to do so, I think this is a great idea. It’s a huge decision to make when leaving, sometimes, all you know.

      I’m considering a move too when my son starts school in the summer. At that point, we will be able too.

      Insofar as not being over it, it can take YEARS to process so much abuse. The longer you are involved, the longer the process. You’re very fortunate to have a good man in your life, however my advice to survivors (and that’s all it is), is to stay single until they feel they have healed enough to engage in a new relationship without the distractions that you’re talking about.

      Are you in therapy, by chance? That might be a helpful solution for you. Does your partner know and understand what’s happened to you? Maybe he would be willing to go with you to therapy if he is struggling with seeing you in pain? Some men do struggle with it.

      Anyway, please just know that it’s not unusual that you’re experiencing this. The idea is to find out what your triggers are and when you become aware of them, it will help you to recognize what’s happening and find solutions to work with it.


  15. hanahan says:

    sorry to hear all these comments

  16. hanahan says:

    One thing about relationships with a narcissist: the theme is universal. I dated one for 3.5 years and in the beginning very charming, attentive even told me he loved me after 4 months of dating and gave me the key to his apartment. The Dr. Jeckyl Mr. Hyde change came on very sublte. There were signs about a year and a half in the relationship that showed me he was selfish and if I did not do what he asked of me there were definitely consequences. Well he ended up asking me a $1000 to help him start another business..I had never asked him for any money.. and I had just rememebered the month prior he had done something vindictive(yes the boyfriend behave vindictively-red flag) so I decided not to give it to him…about a year later…he broke up me via text message stating he had met someone else (i.e..he was cheating on me)… the next victim was older and had more money…He told me what broke the camel back was when I didnt give him the $1000. Anyway, the other woman was 500 miles away in another state and was flying to see him about every other weekend. He was still trying to see me when she was not hear. Eventually, I stopped answering his phone calls and now the other woman( the victim) has moved in with him. What’s unbelievable (but believable to the narcissist) is he brings the other woman to common places where he and I did things together (I was told narcissist dont change their routine they just change their victims). There is so much more I can tell you about this abnormality I was in-just know these relationships are toxic and difficult to eliminate out of your system. I strongly recommend as you have read in many articles apply the NO CONTACT RULE. It can be hard, but eventually clouds will turn into sunshine again. After two years, I am now in a normal healthy relationship with an awesome man,

  17. Nancy says:

    Hi, I enjoy reading your blog, it has provided a lot of insight to me, and I would love to follow you on Facebook but I can’t find your page titled The Ability To Love ? I have searched for it several times tonight…

    • Hi Nancy,

      I no longer have a face book page and haven’t had it up for awhile. Thanks for the reminder as I do need to take down links and/or referrals to it.

      • Trish says:

        I was married for 23 years together for 28 . I was very young when we met 16. I was thrown away like rubbish on valentines day after begging and pleading to chose me he choose the other woman he met on a website a wealthy widow. I was left contemplating taking my own life as he happily skipped of for dinner and a sleep over at his new loves . Told me if I was going to make a scene to leave . I was like a wounded animal . Now through counciling I’ve finally worked out he is narcissistic . It all fell into place the behaviour . I was always put down about my job as I worked so he could earn 2 degrees.,I was emotionally and physically abused I use to sit in the wardrobe and cry . He’d say cry me a river . I was left places on holidays if anything good happened for me he’d destroy it . I was told I was hated and so where the children . He slowly worked on one child to leave home then when he did then started on the other . To the outside world he is a caring health professional couldn’t do enough for anyone . To his family we suffered being ignored always in a bad mood , always we did something to make him annoyed . No one ever knew . Didn’t matter if it was our bday or Xmas if he wanted to be mean he would . Now the new woman gets concert tickets and flowers and thinks she has met her soul mate . I pray she sees through him to save herself and her children the heartache we have endured . I never even knew what gas lighting meant . I was a target from the very first day till the very last . I had a soft heart and a loving nature now I longer trust and am no longer who I was . I don’t even remember me

  18. Julie says:

    I so deeply feel for you and your pain. Your story sounds similar to mine. Except we were together only 4 years. I wish I could take away your pain. I struggle each day just to get out if bed. The depression from being in this type of relationship it touch for anyone to bear. I know it’s only a little comfort but you are not alone there are many people like us in this world. May God some how lift your pain.

    • Julie,

      I understand your pain….

      I wish I could show you a crystal ball with your future that will definitely not feel as painful as it does to you right now.

      Early on, it’s like withdrawal from a drug and indeed, because of our emotional dependence on the psychopath, it is very much like that. They cultivate deprivation and a constant state of want/need. It becomes habitual. It is the greatest of all betrayals.

      I wish I had profound words of wisdom for you, but I don’t. What it takes is time and when you’re in pain like this every hour feels like an eternity but it WILL pass….

      • Trish says:

        It’s been 8 weeks of no contact . I know it’s the best thing I could of done to really see things for what they are . He has rang my best friend and abused her about his own children (it’s everyone else’s fault ). She was taken back at his behaviour and will no longer have contact with him . He has called her numerous times to try and redeem himself . I see him for what he is now . But then why do I everyday go through a thousand thoughts I hate you for what you have done to your own family , I love you and miss you please leave her and come for us this goes on every single minute of the day relentless . If he has moved on why call my best friend ,why get angry I ve changed my number . How can he not miss me I spent 28years with you . I wonder will he show up on my doorstep as there is no other way to contact me now . How can he say the nasty things about his own children .How can I still miss this evil person ??

      • Trish,

        This seems to be such a universal question I need to write a post on it.

        It’s not ‘missing’ in the genuine sense, it’s dependence and addiction. They cultivate this during the relationship. It is amazing how easy and well this works for them.
        You’ve not been out very long, so I promise you this too shall pass but it takes time. A long time. Be very kind to yourself and allow the thoughts to come and go without giving meaning to them, but ratherin observance that they’re there..and let them go through you….

        Anyway, the reasons they do it, is to see if they can get a reaction out of you. They want to make sure you’re doing nothing but thinking of THEM 24/7, while they don’t give a rip. They live in a forever present moment. No past, no future. No remorse, regret, guilt or empathy. Life is a game and they’re in it to win.

        You win when you stay no contact and do not react. About the best friend: This is a lot of drama. Is it feasible for her to ask your ex NOT to contact HER either anymore? He knows she feeds you this information and it does keep the drama rama going. Out of respect for you, is it possible to tell her that you no longer CARE to hear what’s going on with him (even though you do), so that this does not make your ruminating worse?

        As long as he has some ‘in door’ to create more drama, chaos and to get you to reacting, he will. It isn’t about missing you. Psychopaths are not capable of that in the sense you’d like them to be. What they miss is the POWER OVER they had in the relationship and it’s where all the nasty behavior comes from when the relationship is over. They ultimate for them is to have several women on the hook at one time, getting them all triangulated or reacting in some way. It’s a temp gauge for him of POWER.

        Hang in there, Trish. What you’re experiencing is common for what you’ve been through.

  19. Rachel says:

    For me, it was 8.5 years of hell with my nar/socio-unfortunately, we work in the same profession. It was the typical love bombing, move in on me quickly and than the systematic destruction of everything. Lots of other women, lots of lies, weekend disappearances, lots of “I need your help”-but always underneath it all was the little, subtle ways he let me know I wasn’t “good enough”-such as I am too old for his “usual” standards-(I am eight years younger than he is)-walking into my house and just pointing at things and saying “I want that”- and if I refuse the offer, this wide eyed look and “did you just say no to me?”-his cheats are always close to me-previously my direct boss and the current one is someone I work with -she doesn’t know about me(he has told her we are just friends, she used to call me his girlfriend)- but I know all about her-and I feel very bad for her because she is very sweet(truly) and has been burned by a bad marriage and a cheating boyfriend and now she thinks she is madly in love with my ex-he tried to convince me they were no longer together, then he got back with her but he would be with me on Monday, her on Wednesday, spend the night at the beach with me,then go back to her and unfortunately for him-I know his moves and habits very well, so its no longer hard to catch him in his lies and bs-I have tossed him out in the last 3 months about every two weeks-and he keeps coming back-with apologies, and needs a “favor”, then tries to get me things he knows I like etc. The big clue?- He considers he is not cheating if he doesn’t have sex with me, but spends lots of time at my house and calls six times a day but runs to her house and has sex-my take on the whole thing- “she is getting the sex, she can be your secretary”- he doesn’t get this and keeps showing up and trying to find an “angle” to keep me-he actually said to me- Thursday when I told him I knew he spent the night at her house, “my dating should have no bearing on our friendship”-I never agreed to those terms and what planet is he from to think this was acceptable?- he is paranoid, lies constantly, has this grandiose view of himself, never compliments me on anything, is jealous of my accomplishments and tries his best to sabotage me- fortunately, I am a fairly strong person, it took me awhile to wonder what in the world I was going through but after doing a lot of reading, I have found several stories and blogs and its just like my story-the hard part will be the no contact-because I was at work yesterday and I know he was at my house-not inside, just there-he is trying to figure out something “nice” to do for me so he can “keep me”- I do not flatter myself this means he is giving up her-my friends at work tell me she has no idea whats going on and I am not going to say anything-I have told him I am leaving in a few weeks after I finish some business and will disappear- I expect the “love bombing” to resume to some degree-say a prayer for me and I will do the same for all of you-when you realize you are just as miserable with them and around them as you are without them, choose without them-that at least lessens in time. Being around them and miserable is the worst feeling in the world.

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