Mirroring and bonding

I have been researching histrionic personality disorder. I am interested in the similarities between male and female, and why males are often diagnosed Sociopaths and females diagnosed Histrionic Personality Disorder (not always, but it is common).

I came across this article about psychopathic mirroring on Psychcentral. I don’t usually copy and paste articles to this site. I was really impressed with this article, thought I should share.

Psychopath mirroring

A psychopath will mirror your identity at the beginning, middle and end of a relationship, only in different ways at each stage. Initially, in order to win you over, he will pretend to be like you and to like everything about you. Robert Hare and Paul Babiak describe in Snakes in Suits how during the “assessment phase” of the relationship a psychopath will convey to his target four main messages: 1) I like you; 2) I share your interests; 3) I’m like you, and 4) I’m the perfect partner or soul mate for you.

This process constitutes the mirroring phase of the psychopathic bond. Granted, most romantic relationships entail some aspects of mirroring. After all, that’s how couples discover their points in common. But with a psychopath the reflection tends to be instant and total. It’s a simulated bonding that’s way too fast, too soon and too good to be true. This happens before any real emotional connection can take place. It occurs before the partners have gotten to know each other well, over time and in different circumstances. Instant bonding is usually a symptom of shallowness of emotions rather than of miraculous compatibility. It means that the psychopath will detach from you and latch on to another target as easily as he initially attached to you. Yet through their conversational glibness and innate charm, as well as through their extraordinary capacity to identify and reflect your deepest desires, psychopaths can initially make you feel like they’re your dream come true. They present themselves as the only partners who could possibly fulfill whatever’s been missing from your life.

During the course of the relationship, however, the psychopath reveals more and more his true colors. He becomes increasingly critical and controlling. What’s more, he also incites you to go along with his wrongdoings. That way you mirror his ugly personality and become his accomplice. His message switches from being “I’m just like you” (as moral, smart, kind, beautiful, ideal as you are) as it was during the luring phase to being “you’re just like me” (as deceitful, malicious, dishonest as you begin to see that he is). Keep in mind that, most likely, you’re not. Even if you’ve engaged in some wrongdoings, unless you thrive on pathological lying, promiscuity as a means of domination of others, playing mind games, harming others and power games you’re not likely to be a psychopath, like him.

When you’ve finally had enough and leave the psychopath–or when he leaves you–he will see you as a devalued, distorted mirror image of himself and of your former, idealized, self as well. Every quality he initially saw in you–from beauty to brains–will be turned into its opposite. If he saw you as smart, you’re now stupid in his eyes. If he was attracted to your beauty, he now sees you as ugly. If he admired your hard work, he now views your efforts as a mindless submission to the system. As I’ve explained in the previous post about the process of idealize, devalue and discard, this negative mirroring at the end is a natural and inevitable unfolding of the psychopathic relationship.


Babiak and Hare explain that although psychopaths are highly manipulative, the process of idealize, devalue and discard is a natural outgrowth of their personalities. In other words, it’s not necessarily calculated at every moment in the relationship. Overall, however, whether consciously or not, psychopaths assess and drain the use-value out of their romantic partners. (Snakes in Suits, 42) During the assessment phase, psychopaths interact closely with their targets to see what makes them tick. They ask probing questions, to discover their unfulfilled needs and weaknesses. They also commonly lure their targets with promises to offer them whatever’s been missing from their lives. If you’re recovering from a recent divorce, they offer you friendship and an exciting new romantic relationship. If you’ve suffered a death in the family, they appear to be sympathetic friends. If you’re going through financial difficulties, they lend you money to seem generous.

During the manipulation phase, Babiak and Hare go on to explain, psychopaths construct the “psychopathic fiction.” They pour on the charm to hook their victims emotionally and gain their trust. They present themselves as kind-hearted individuals. Of course, in order to do so, psychopaths resort to outrageous lies since, in reality, they’re just the opposite. In romantic relationships in particular, they depict themselves as not only compatible with you, but also as your soul mate. While seeming your complement, they also present themselves as your mirror image. They claim to share your interests and sensibilities. Babiak and Hare observe: “This psychological bond capitalizes on your inner personality, holding out the promise of greater depth and possibly intimacy, and offering a relationship that is special, unique, equal–forever.” (Snakes in Suits, 78)

Because psychopaths are great manipulators and convincing liars, as we’ve seen, many of their victims don’t heed the warning signals. During the early phases of a romantic relationship, people in general tend to be too blinded by the euphoria of falling in love to focus on noticing red flags. Also, during this period, the psychopaths themselves are on their best behavior. Yet, generally speaking, they get bored too easily to be able to maintain their mask of sanity consistently for very long. The honeymoon phase of the relationship usually lasts until the psychopath intuitively senses that he’s got you on the hook or until he’s gotten bored by the relationship and moved on to other targets. He shows his true colors when he’s got no incentive left to pretend anymore. As Babiak and Hare note, “Once psychopaths have drained all the value from a victim—that is, when the victim is no longer useful—they abandon the victim and move on to someone else.” (Snakes in Suits, 53)

A broader explanation, which would include both kinds of psychopaths, might look something like this: as research confirms, all psychopaths suffer from a shallowness of emotion that makes their bonding ephemeral and superficial, at best. When they want something–or someone–they pursue that goal with all their might. They concentrate all of their energies upon it. When that goal is your money or a job or something outside of yourself, their pursuit may appear somewhat fake. You’re a means to an end. You were never idealized for yourself, but for something else. But when their goal is actually you–seducing you or even marrying you–then their pursuit feels like an idealization. Temporarily, you represent the object of their desire, the answer to their needs, the love of their life and the key to their happiness. But this feeling of euphoria doesn’t last long because it’s empty to the core. As we’ve observed. once psychopaths feel they have you in their grasp—once your identity, hopes and expectations are pinned on them—they get bored with you and move on to new sources of pleasure and diversion. We’ve also seen in Cleckley’s study that the same logic applies to their other goals as well. Psychopaths tire rather quickly of their jobs, their geographic location, their hobbies and their educational endeavors. But it hurts so much more, and it feels so much more personal, when what they get tired of is you, yourself.

Their loss of interest appears as a devaluation. From the center of their life, you suddenly become just an obstacle to their next pursuit. Since psychopaths are intuitively skilled at “dosing,” or giving you just enough validation and attention to keep you on the hook, you may not immediately notice the devaluation. It’s as if the psychopath intuitively knows when to be charming again (in order not to lose you) and when to push your boundaries, further and lower. Your devaluation occurs gradually yet steadily. One day you finally notice it and wonder how you have allowed yourself to sink so low. Occasionally, he throws you a bone–takes you out, plans a romantic evening, says kind and loving things—to lead you to dismiss your healthy intuitions that you’re being mistreated. If the psychopath allows himself to treat you worse and worse it’s not only because you’re much less exciting in his eyes. It’s also because he’s conditioned you to think less highly of yourself and to accept his dubious behavior. Because you want to hold on to the fantasy of the ideal relationship he cultivated, you go into denial. You accept his implausible excuses. You put up with your growing fears and doubts. You rationalize his inexplicable absences, his increasingly frequent emotional withdrawals, his curt and icy replies, his petty and mean-spirited ways of “punishing” you for asserting your needs or for not bending to his will.

That’s when you realize that the devaluation phase has set in. You do whatever you can to regain privileged status. You try to recapture the excitement and sweetness of the idealization phase. You want to reclaim your rightful throne as the queen you thought you were in his eyes. But that’s an impossible goal, an ever-receding horizon.

You have done everything you could to satisfy him. Yet, after the initial idealization phase, nothing you did was ever good enough for him.


78 thoughts on “Mirroring and bonding”

  1. My ex wa everything of the above, we met 6 yrs ago, he quickly fell in love with me and did everything right, he didn’t have much going on in his life at the time, I was a happy and ambitious person, slowly slowly he tried to put me down by making me feel I was nothing, yet when he met me he was praising me so much how he’s been blessed to have met someone like me.. I feel madly in love with him as he was doing all the right things in the relationship.
    I realise my ex bf was not normal when we had an argument, he would just ignore and blame me for everything, he punished by giving me the silent treatment for any concerns I had about the relationship, he would walk out on the relationship for months, he was very manipulative because he knew I cared for him, eventually he left me last October after we spent a nice weekend together were he was saying how much he loves me and wants to be with me wen he left the Monday I didn’t hear from him so I called he told me things have changed and that it’s best I move on and I heard he quickly started a new relationship, now when he sees me he makes it like he’s never seen me in his life, no face expression at all. He blames me with friends for the break up of the relationship.. Just like he put the blame on his ex wife for their divorce… All along he was mirroring everything about my life, my ambitions, business, my taste in decor, absolutely everything.

    1. How are you doing today, and how is your life? I know, it hurts how they just cut you dead, like you never existed, and everything is all your fault. Like you were the one who hurt them, and they are the victim. No doubt told everyone that too.

      1. TOTALLY! All of that is so exactly what they do. I think understanding a sociopath’s brain is the way to cut off feeling badly. Being blank and as if you aren’t there is normal behavior of a sociopath because – there is nothing there – in them. They never had any real emotions of love or caring – it was all pretend. It all seems so great in the beginning because they are mimicking human positive emotions that they see in people around them. They chose the best, brightest, most expressive “love” expressions they see and put them all together and serve them fast and hot to us in the beginning to suck us in. — Then the tables turn, as they subtly hammer away at us they dance us around to being like them as mentioned in the post. FREAKY!! — The thing is once we can grasp – and it takes practice and persistence – that a sociopath has a different brain and everything about them and everything they say is a lie – we can extract ourselves from their hypnosis. We can get away. We can heal. We can make a greater life than ever before!

  2. Excellent post. This shows the inner workings of the psychopath very well. I think this will really help survivors understand, who they are dealing with is not human at all. We literally have no chance with them. No one does. We have to accept them for who they are and leave them…..permanently.

    1. ABSOLUTELY. 100%. There is no compromise, or “let’s be friends” with a sociopath. Brain scans show their brain is different. It’s so obvious once you are aware of the differences that their actions and words can seem comical… except they are so destructive. — In my experience once he – Mr X. my personal sociopath “husband” – knew that I knew what he was – at first he became very scary and more dangerous for about 10 days – he tried then OPENLY to get things from me – a car, and money…– I never let up. I remained passive – because they have uncontrollable rage. I remained submissive in a way – but – I was cancelling credit cards, giving a warning on my SS number for fraud, cancelling our joint bank account, took all my valuables and documents out of our apartment… all the very first hours his truth was revealed to me. I stopped buying food, I stopped cooking, I stopped doing his laundry. I said: oh so sorry, I didn’t have money to pay the internet bill. The internet will be cancelled tomorrow. He moved out two days later while I was at work. Yea! I had an annulment proceeding filed and in process 3 weeks later.

      1. Yep when they are after money, quickest way to get rid of them, is to cut the source of supply. They will be forced to move onto someone else that they can mooch off of.

  3. Reblogged this on Gayle Mullen Pace ~ Author and commented:
    I found the following post to be quite enlightening—detailing how a person gets snared by a sociopath and what happens when the bloom is off the rose. I know one young woman who found herself caught in this spider’s trap and how difficult it was to get out. Anyone who has ever crafted a twisted and cunning protagonist will appreciate how complex the human mind is.

  4. I’ve never been in a relationship like this, but I know someone who was. The article could be chronicling her life under the thumb of a man who tried to destroy her. She survived and was finally able to move on. Thank you for sharing this. I reblogged it.

  5. Exactly what happened to me! But with one exception. When the devaluation phase started, I started making huge fights with him. He was paying less and less attention to me. I yelled and yelled at him, but it just got worse. Now I feel like I am responsible. He got a new girlfriend IMMEDIATELY after I begged him not to leave me. Who does that? He met her right after! And he rubbed it in my face. He said he is happier without me! A week before that he assured me of his love. What a heartless douche, he enjoyed my tears. He literally crushed me. Now I think constantly of suicide.

    1. You WILL make it through. HE is an alien-robot-monster; YOU are human. HE is to blame; YOU are not. HE doesnt know what happiness is because he lacks emotion; YOU will be happier without his toxicity. You will survive this. You just need some time for the spell to wear off and to start rebuilding yourself. Focus on one thing you are grateful for (not related to him) every day, if you can. xo

    2. Don’t even entertain the thought of hurting yourself for the useless shell of a human that these people are. You are much more valuable than he ever will be. Take comfort in the fact the many people who have been betrayed by the one they loved have these thoughts but it is not a solution believe me. Recovering and living a fruitful life is your best recourse. Keep reading and see how many people are going through or have gone through your predicament. You will survive I promise you. Cut this cancer out of your life. God bless you.

    3. Tania, I just lost a relationship too in similar circumstances, but no man (or woman) is worth doing that. The hurt will stop, but you have to give it time. Hang in there, and know that you aren’t alone in the pain you feel. I’m feeling it too, as I’m sure are many folks today.

    4. This is the most disturbed individual you will probably ever meet in your entire life . He would turn cartwheels of joy thinking you would kill yourself .

      Many of us have been pushed to the brink of it , myself included I can assure you . It will pass , although it doesn’t feel there is any way around it at the moment .

      My life has changed beyond all recognition in the last 2 years since I got rid of this ” cancer ” as Peter puts it so well .

      It is . Cut him dead from your life and do not take this path . You have had a severe battering mentally , but there are plenty of good people here you can talk to , who know exactly where you are .


      1. Nicky, you are right. Come to think of it, when I begged him to stay, I told him I was being suicidal, he knows how sensitive I am. You know what he told me? That I should learn a lesson, that he doesn’t care and that he was really happy without me. Three days after that he posted pictures with his new girlfriend for the whole world to see. I haven’t looked at his profile since then. I have never ever cheated on anyone! I have a short temper, but neved have I done anything bad to him… Sick and cruel individual. The worst is everyone is so charmed by him, he always plays the victim. You are probably right, he will jump from joy and tell everyone with a smile from the satisfaction that he won.

    5. Thank you all for the kind words. I have always been so strong, I can’t believe someone can just discard and replace the person who he claimed to love. I feel so devastated. To all of you who see the signs of sociopathy: TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS ONLY! Do not ever confront him or her with your doubts and observations, because he will lie and lie and deceit and lie more! That was my biggest mistake, because that gave him assurance of my love and attachment. The mask began to fall rapidly and he started using fear (fear he would leave me) to manipulate. But when I stood strong and denied, he cut me off and replaced me right away. I saw the signs, but, you know, love is blind. Do not ask and do not get angry! Just trust your guts and leave before it’s too late.

    6. This is what they do. They do not care. Ive been there. Exactly the same method. RUN dont look back bc they come back around. Please take care. We have been through it and are healing from it. Ive been reading this site for years. Read all the articles and comments. It will help you immensely realize that you are not alone and this is their pattern.

  6. I married a sociopath and divorced him years ago! I met another one five years ago and got taken in just the same. I have to ask WHY ME? They make us feel that way because they don’t have anything real about them. They are fake but we are real, that is why you feel terrible but just as you would think of someone who is being cruel to an animal is an evil person then you must think of yourself as being the one who escaped from the trauma and cruelty that was being inflicted upon you. I know how you feel. I am ashamed of myself for letting this happen again, and for letting my guard down, but I am going to move onwards and upwards and not let him get the better of me as a person. Just like you I shouted and lost control at him, but he stood there reaffirming that I am a nutcase (when very rarely do I get pushed that far). I remember begging him to stop bullying me but he just laughed. Don’t think of suicide Tania, you are not worthless! We are not victims we are targets and the next woman is a new target. Mine told me he loves me but I irritate him, he said that about his ex wife in the beginning. Don’t blame yourself.

    1. Thank you, Jads! You know what mine told me? That he left an ex and she came to his workplace to beg him not to leave her. He was laughing at her – to him she was a nutcase. It gave me a really bad impression, but I ignored it. Noone should laugh at somebody who loves and is willing to humiliate himself for the sake of love. She did this for you, asshole – respect the people who love you! At least I didn’t go there, but instead begged by the phone 🙂 Well, maybe now he is laughing at me, but you are right – we are real, we feel love, we FEEL. Feeling can make you happy. Don’t blame yourself for letting your guard down. Just don’t ignore the signs and don’t fear being alone. Be thankful you understood the nature of these human-faced reptiles. They are gonna end up alone, never felt love and real emotion. And who knows – maybe the next person you meet will lower his guard down for you and give you REAL love! Take care!

      1. This sounds exactly like my ex..even down to the blaming his ex wife for their divorce. When our relationship ended he made insincere apologies for the way he went about things and then the next minute everything was my fault. He wanted me to bend to his will whenever he wanted and if I could not for whatever reason or would not, he would become angry and frustrated and impatient and make ultimatums and all of a sudden I was a horrible person. His feelings for me would bounce back and forth for 2.5 yrs. one minute he was telling the world he was so in love with me and then 5 days later he didn’t want to be with me. He put on a show for the world to portray himself to be someone he is not. He was able to leave as fast as he came with no remorse or understanding of what he put me through. It was always him him him. He only acted like he cared about me when it was to his benefit. He acted like he cared when I would go through things and pretend he was there for me but at the end of the relationship he would say things about how he really felt which was that he didn’t care at all those times he pretended to be there for me. He called me pathetic when I cried for him to stay the second time he broke off our engagement and was completely cold about it. The he started dating someone right away. its like a predator on the prowl for its prey..it truly is. Everything in this post and many of everyone’s comments about their exs behavior is exactly what I have been through. The mirroring stages when he would shower me with affection as if I was the love of his life down to the devaluing stage. I am glad that I now know what kind of person he is because the truth sets you free. I deserve much better than this. These people are not capable of love. They lack true emotion and mimic emotions that they see to catch their prey and discard them when they feel they no longer need them or don’t get their way. I am glad that this time around.(he broke up with me 4 times) I no longer care. I want better than this and am no longer in love with him. I see his true colours and have complete peaceful freedom..

    2. I know this post is old but to discuss this just so you recognize it 5 year from now is good. It could be partly you but not in a bad way. There is a post about what sociopaths are attracted to. Want to know something scary? I am EVERY SINGLE ONE of those things. They are good things. Take a read. It really opened my eyes that my goodness can attract badness. http://www.sheknows.com/love-and-sex/articles/1096279/traits-that-make-you-susceptible-to-a-psychopath

  7. Very helpfull and clear post thanks a lot to understand more and see more clear what trap i was in and luckely escaped..and still healing but much stronger

  8. Reblogged this on Blog Of A Mad Black Woman and commented:
    “Temporarily, you represent the object of their desire, the answer to their needs, the love of their life and the key to their happiness. But this feeling of euphoria doesn’t last long because it’s empty to the core.” ~ Dating a Sociopath

  9. I am now at almost 2 weeks no contact since I dared mock his own BS in a phone call that I endured so frequently from him. He hung up on my sarcastic comment about seeing a coworker at grocery store who he said acknowledged him but seemed not to want to small talk. I was like “oh did baby get his feelings hurt?” CLICK
    At first I thought he lost his signal so no biggie. I called back in a few to no answer. Tried again hour later, same result. I could recall the subdued rush of anxiety come over me that night that the snake’s venom had once again got me! I realized this was as good a time as any to withdraw, for the billionth time, from this freak. But I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed to not get any guilt trip email or nothing since.
    As each day passes, and this glorious website’s intervention, I grow stronger and more content. I get this nawing feeling, though, of what’s his deal, did he meet someone while with me? Was he giving me a “test” to see when any little excuse would get me booted from his world? Is he missing ME?! We had such a great day the last I saw him, I was actually tempted to say I loved him, but didn’t. I won’t beg to be in his company and this time let him do all the calling and texting. I really never believed it could be real or lasting. Deep down you want to think they’ve changed, only to find nothing. AND- this reaction despite his promise that he’d changed and that night was his 4th visit to his “therapy” he claims, but I don’t know if even that is true. I find it suspicious, like so much else about what he would say or do.
    Truth is I am embarrassed to have even told the small group of friends I did that I was dare seeing him again. That spoke volumes, and that I had a small dinner party planned the next night this happened that I hadn’t invited HIM nor planned to! I think it really pissed him off, so good!
    I am not playing the game the same way this time, I know he sensed it. I may be gullible and too nice ( a common bone of contention he had with me), but I know when enough is enough! Or atleast I like to think so.

    Positiva, I read this article and the previous one about ( with the excellent graphic!) and keep thinking mine was indeed a hybrid psycho.
    I mean, he never would say how much he loved me, surprise me with little tokens of affection, make plans to move in together or cohabitate, etc. He did do pretty much all the rest in the course of 4 years, but he would never much acknowledge IN WORDS that we were a loving relationship! Whenever I pushed for him to do so, it would cause friction. It is almost like he hated to think we were an item! But yet, there for a while, he would end every phone call with “luv U”…
    But during so much of our era I would withdraw, quit calling, and he would come back in a few days playing dumb, and I would too, fall right back into this thing we had. UGHHHH- but so I think outloud here, a good place to do it. I hate it that I even give the prick so much of my thoughts. But, afterall, I want to understand even though now I know through all these wonderful articles and discussions, that I never will.
    I share this with anyone else in my situation, not seeing ALL the traits of a psycho, but just enough to really mess with your head.
    Like my wonderful, great, loving MOM used to say about dating:
    It just should be EASY ( and no she didn’t mean all the time, just in general that you should not have to put up with so much with another)!
    Thanks for listening I really do wish everyone peace on here…

    1. You KNOW you deserve SO much more than this don’t you? You are nothing to be ashamed of, you are not worthless, like he made you feel. YOU are so much more than this. You really are. You deserve so much more than this. Yes, love shouldn’t be painful, i am not saying it will be easy, i don’t think it is. Life is a challenge, and we are constantly growing as people, what we need is someone who will grow with us. Am sorry you are hurting again. I really hope that this time, you don’t give him anymore of your time.

  10. My ex was this to a T. At the end, when he had his mistress (new supply), he would come home once a day or two and he would find an excuse to beat us(myself and children). It felt like he resented us for being in his life, for having to hide us from her. We were complications, perhaps. Eventually he did nothing at all to support us, in any way. I think he was trying, consciously or not, to force us out, maybe so it would be my fault.
    But I am grateful for having gone through the process, because now I know all these warning signs, as well as how wonderful it is to be single and not dating. Freedom is fantastic.

    1. Yes, it is not your fault. He was this way before he met you and he was this way when he met you (he just hid it), and he will continue to be this way long after he has left your life. It is just who they are. However, that wonderful feeling in the beginning, this was mirroring the TRUE YOU…. who you are….. take that, and know that you are beautiful and special, just as you are.

      1. Thank you. I agree that it wasn’t my fault, no matter how many times I might think it was. I don’t need to be with someone who makes me feel that way.

  11. This piece is spot-on. I have lived it. These “people” will destroy you if you do not some how, some way find the strength and determination to remove them from your life. It is a long painstaking road. Psychopaths/sociopaths can keep your mind and spirit in a total state of chaos and confusion for years to the point that you are lucky if you recall your name or recognize yourself in the mirror. Once you realize that one is in your life, the focus MUST be to save yourself at all costs. Your life truly depends upon it. Fantastic site by the way.

  12. Thank you Tania, you are an Angel saying those things to me. I am full of anxiety wondering when he is going to reappear and hurt me again with his bare faced lies. I had some of his documents and I wanted closure and some things stored at my home in the loft. I don’t live in my home anymore. I called him and told him he needed to collect his things. He knows I am waiting for spine surgery, he made me drive 100 miles in agonising pain to meet him so he could access the loft in my house and get his things. This would mean closure. When I got there he hadn’t bothered to wait for me and just left. Later when I finally managed to get him on the phone he said he couldn’t be bothered to wait. I also had a biopsy (possible breast cancer) I was scared of course as my mother died from that. I stupidly told him I was waiting for the result, hoping he would show some sign of love and understanding towards me…. No he said ‘ you only have yourself to blame!!’ and then carried on talking about himself. I have to remember don’t talk to him about anything personal or real it doesn’t work. Happily my result was negative and I am fine, if I hadn’t been imagine how I would be feeling from his comment. When I first met him his own mother had breast cancer and she died from that a few years ago. Why would anyone be so cold and cruel? You can’t imagine how these people walk the earth and get away with the hurt they cause. There is so much more he has done, enough to right a horror story, or sell the ideas to a soap as for reality there is just none. Thank you again, I am recovering and I hope you will cherish who you are as a person as well. We need to forgive ourselves for being fooled.

    1. Wow, that sounds… just too harsh! The SP suffers from complete lack of empathy. But, tell me, why do you need his empathy? His compasion towards you cannot make you feel better, his feelings won’t heal you. My grandmother fought breast cancer without a man by her side and won! Do not seek for emotional closure from him, you will only suffer more, as he can’t give you this. Life is short, why hurt ourselves intentiously? A spine surgeory? How ironic – he is the one who needs it! The more weak and vulnerable you are, the more important and satisfied he feels. Those psychos feel pleasure from hurting others! Yes, it is hard if there is no physical abuse, but I felt the emotional pain and it is just as bad seeing him happy I suffer. Do not appear weak! Mine manipulated me with presents. I don’t need presents, I need a real, strong man, not a sadistic little man-child that gains strenght from seeing me sad. You will get better, honey! Focus on your health and tell me how the surgeory went!

      1. Oh my gosh. My ex sounds like this to a T. A lot of these posts say they want something from you and drain your money. That’s not always the case. My ex gave me presents because he didn’t know how else to express his fake love. Also be didn’t want anything. He just wanted me. Wanted me to move in and get married. Once I was hooked though he was bored and was constantly on to other women and challenges all while keeping me hooked. I always asked over and over why are you stringing me along? Why not date a poly girl and let me go? He would just keep saying he only wanted me. I had to catch him in the act of him sleeping with a woman he swore he wasn’t sleeping with to finally believe what was reality. I was gaslighted for a year and a half so my mind was so tweaked. I finally (after never getting closure and answers) truly believe he enjoyed the power and the game and got pleasure watching me become broken and lost. He loved hurting me. Was satisfied with that. Sick. He also really liked violent/bdsm type sex said he can’t become excited without feeling like he was forcing me. I don’t know why I ignored these things for so long. Left me feeling like a shell. I still feel like a shell. Nothing.

  13. Hello, I am nearly a year of no contact and I can say that it is easier but I have my off days as well. All the emotional abuse and agression described in all your posts I experienced. However, I also experienced some instances of physical abuse as well as the destruction of my possessions. I sensed and had signs that he found new supply when we broke up but were still seeing each other like we hadn’t. He of course denied that he had. I had distanced myself from him but he was trying to win me back while he pursued her. Since I went no contact, he sporadically left me voice messages, came to my job a few times, but I walked right by him and ignored him as he called my name. About a month ago, I received a call from him but I did not answer and he left a message. I later found out from a friend that he had posted pictures on Facebook of his daughter and himself with a figure of a woman in the background, the same day I got the message. It hurt me to know that she’s bonding with his daughter, had met his mother, and they’re happy and sharing their lives together. I listened to about 3 seconds of the 30 second message and all I heard was background noise so I deleted it. I’m guessing he accidentally dialed my number because he was on a family trip with them, though part of me was hoping he felt bad and there would have been apology or that he would have had an epiphany of sorts. My friend also told me that though he hasn’t put pictures of them together he had made his relationship public by tagging her in posts of the places they go to together and what stings most is they were the same places we went to and shared memories. I told our mutual friend to not let me know anything else about what he’s doing or posting. He had told me that once he was happy he would be sure to rub my face in it and make it all public, so I’m down because the fact that he made her public now shows he’s happy. All this time he wasn’t so open, but now they’re clearly together as he’s broadcasting it. Why do I feel like I somehow failed and the things he said about me were true? Why do I think she’s better and that’s why they’re working and he didn’t come back? Why do I feel like they’ll last and I’m envious because they’re sharing their lives, traveling, and doing the things I saw myself doing with him?

    1. I feel for you Jill. The conflict you feel within you when you realise that you were duped all along and they took what they wanted and moved on as if you meant absolutely nothing to them can be the most confusing and painful experience anyone can go through. I have been psychologically damaged by my partner of 4 years. It is with me everyday, I have anxiety and knots in my stomach and still I wish I could wind the clock back and for everything to just be ok. I have to accept that it never will be. For a year I have been ok-ish but now around the anniversary of our break up I am feeling seriously ill over the situation which is haunting me constantly. How could I have let that man abuse me so much.

      1. I’m sorry for all the pain you’re in today Jads, I hope you can turn the day into a day for you instead. Wouldn’t a fast forward button be nice some days?

      2. Jads, I am in the same place. After sharing my life with someone for 4 years, but become progressively unhappy with lies and emails to other women and his less than enthusiastic participation in our relationship – not to mention his drug addiction – I kicked him out.. He managed to con me into letting him stay in my house for 3 weeks last October saying he was going to go back to college… anyway more lies. he enrolled got his student finance and left the country for Nepal.. shock and disbelief and then a smear campaign anonymous hate mail and emails to my family members.. then some contact saying could we try again and finally he’s met someone else, and is so glad to be rid of me… that was 3 weeks ago… I think we just have to be glad they are gone and are torturing someone else…I do relate though, I have found it really hard, mentally torturing myself, but then also realising all the things that he did in the relationship, its like being no contact and apart lets you see how dreadful they are really

      3. Hi Abby the realisation of what you have let them do to you and the fact that they are such convincing liars and blamers and your gradual discovery of all their lies and deceitfulness makes you feel like you are stripping off layers of your own skin, coming to terms with it and finding yourself still there but in pain ! I am now recovering from that phase and I have good days and bad. Can we relate this to a small child who builds the blocks sky high and smiles as he bashes them down to the ground again only to build them all over again. That cognitive part of a child’s development maybe never grows into anything more in their minds. Yes he built me up and smashed me down. He is doing that to someone else, somewhere else right now!

      4. Hi Abby, I hear you. It’s so upsetting when you give so much to someone, and they have the nerve to not only throw it back in your face, they then smear your name as well. I find that was the most damage. Money can be replaced, possessions can be replaced, relationships can even be replaced (especially if the person treated you badly), but your reputation from the smear campaign can really cause damage, that stays for a long time, and is so unwarranted and undeserved. You are right when you do no contact, the brain washing wears off, and you look back and can see just how bad the relationship was.

    2. Dearest Jill,
      I promise with all my heart you did not fail. HE is the failure. You know this deep down. I was a secret too so don’t feel bad. It’s possible he wants to “look normal” to outsiders. That is typically why they broadcast someone, I believe. The bottom line is he will most certainly 100% cheat on her too. It’s standard procedure. The real points to focus on are: be glad you’re out of the circus, instability, several types of abuse and neglect, gas lighting, created arguments, games galore. You are also no longer at risk for a disease. You’re actually doing GREAT. Well done. Keep up the good work and STAY NO CONTACT.

      1. Absolutely!! All of that 100 zillion percent! No contact. Zippo. nada. zilch. If they can’t get anything they get busy with the prey they had on the side while with us and the next big fish. They don’t want a relationship – they want stuff. A car or money, a place to sleep, a reputation as a family man. They can be violent. Keep no contact. CONGRATUALTIONS!!!!

    3. Hi Jill, I can’t really explain why, but I can tell you you’re not alone in feeling the way you do and having those doubts. I have felt exactly the same. He is re-opening the wounds with a call just a month ago, I would put money on it being no accident. So even though a year seems like it should be long enough it may take longer. Big hugs to you and keep fighting for you my dear, NO Contact will pay off for you.

  14. When I read this I see pieces of my past relationship with the SP playing out in my mind. Like a bad movie of the week montage.

    When I was at my most co-dependent self I too, did a lot of mirroring and taking on the other’s interests and likes. I tolerated or pretended to be interested in things that I would never ever sit through now. I told myself that for people we care about we do take an interest in their interests as an extension of them. It never occurred to me at all that I was lying to them and to myself.

    Now I finally realize/wonder if this is why it makes it so easy for the SP and co-dep to bond so fast, is it perhaps, because they are BOTH participating so fully and completely in the mirroring process. However while the co-dep’s need is to actually bond and be with that person they feel so strongly about, it is the SPs need to just use and use. But either way, it is an unhealthy behaviour and a habit to be broken for sure.

    There have been a few men latey who cross my path who seem to have that instant “wow you are amazing” reaction to me (I’m not that amazing, trust me..lol). But it doesn’t work any more, I am quick to point out that they don’t know me and that it is very premature. And usually, they realize that this game won’t work on me and they move on quickly. “Ah-ha” I think to myself, “I bet that was another one.” Sure, attention is nice, but after years with a SP the over the top premature adoration is the first thing that will send me running for the hills.

    1. Reading your story, it has made me realise that not only did I get suckered in with all the flattery as I had been on my own for a number of years but also by his tail of wow about his relationship with his ex wife. On that basis because I felt so empathetic and happy with my new man I forgot to look out for the signs of being used. I was picking up pieces for him from one day to the next, he quite literally became a full time job. Remarkably apart from his family I never met any of his friends in our four year long relationship. He didn’t mind mixing with mine in the beginning and taking advantage of a free weekend away with me paid for by my father as a gift for valentines. OMG what genuine man would accept that from my father and whilst away I don’t recall him offering to buy my father and his wife a drink or anyone else in our group. Again a sign that the man was a user and a taker. He didn’t even voluntarily say thank you either! During the rest of our relationship he gradually started criticising my friends who had all made him welcome. He tried to break up friendships that I had for years. He then started to see his own family without me present and when I asked to go along for instance to his father’s birthday do as I had known is father and his partner before I even met him, he said no, why do you have to invade my life.

      1. Dear, Sweet, JAD649,

        This is all normal life with a sociopath. You are not “codependent”. There is nothing you could have done differently. Sociopaths have a brain different than ours. Science shows this. They think they are better than everyone, famous, they are vain, they are deliberately causing harm, they think we deserve it, they have no capacity for emotional empathy, or love. Their brain does not register love or caring. They are self obsessed. They are perceptive, seemingly intelligent, charming, funny, entertaining, compelling. — Every relationship with every beautiful, good woman and a sociopath is identical. We all have been in what you went through – because there is nothing else – because a sociopath creates this by their nature. It is intentional. No, you are correct – they are not men – they are monsters. And it helps to look at the circumstances and past scenarios in just that way. It is not a real relationship. It is a ride with an insane person. A dance with a snake charmer. It goes like this: The sociopath sees us and does an assessment that it takes to blink. Literally. Then they win our trust. Are sweet as powdered sugar, kind, generous, fun, thoughtful – and just like us – like we have sooo much in common They are our dream man to the 100th power!! So. They got us. Now they take. Some we see, but explain or justify or make an exception for. They get a little mean even, but we understand. We want to work on the relationship because they think we are the best thing that ever happened to them and we think they are too!! — Then it gets nasty. The begin rejecting us in small an da little bit big really hurtful sharp ways. They put us down. They are gone a lot. They go out without us. _ We may not realize but they are stealing and using our money too. We know he just left with our car keys. – We know he accepted a vacation our dad paid for. We can see he didn’t offer anyone drinks and we’re humiliated. We shrink inside. We do something else he wants to make it better. — the end is almost near. They are knowing that we are sensing something vile and really, really, bad is going on. That this is nothing normal. — They expect this time to come. They have been in it many times — that ex he was entangled with..? She went through what you are going through. – Her first time also. – Not his. He has lived this way all his adult life. — Now that you know about him he’s going to take off his mask and show his real monster face. Be safe. Cut all contact. He then will smear you. This is horrifying. I know. I married a sociopath. We are not codependent. We are not weak. We are not to blame. We are the prefect prey of sociopaths because we are loyal, good, strong, kind, loving, achievers, decent, forgiving, magnanimous, faithful and all good things. It is human nature to trust. It is a sociopath’s nature to abuse trust. — All you need now is love and healing. Surround your self with true love from family and great friends.

      2. You are sooooooo welcome!! I was married to my snake for 10 months… annulment April 2014 (married May 2012). He is an international criminal love scammer faux entertainment industry scammer. He’s in the Caribbean at the moment pretending to be a modelling agent! When some of the dust settles the predictable ridiculousness of their desperation is laughable. — They don’t actually exist without someone believing in them. I do have financial tangles still related to him… I did reach out to some of his women in getting proof for my annulment. But now that we are not legally attached — well I can’t spend my life running after him sending up warning signals. I do so wish there was a way to brand these monsters.

      3. Strangely enough mine managed to scam me for a holiday and forgot to pay me back before he left the relationship, along with several over hundred pounds whilst claiming I cost him too much money. I managed to recover a few hundred pounds by telling him I would have debt collectors visit him at his workplace. It was only then he admitted he owed me any money. As for the £900 he still owes me I won’t see that again, but as long as I don’t see him its well worth the price.

      4. Yes mine got the free holiday too….. they like to get things for free. I agree about it being worth the price, what price can you put on freedom, to never be humiliated, degraded, scammed again?

      5. It is stunning isn’t it that there are people out there so attached to the lie….. that they literally are a lie. You could spend the rest of your life warning other women. Worst is that they just get away with it. I think this is the thing that is so stunning.

  15. HI – gave my socio. his papers for divorce! He called and emailed me—- saying that I was BS! that I lied about working things out! This is obviously after I was told that he didn’t have an incentive for letting the OW go! He has now gone completely silent! I think he is planning his next move! He said, I know you will never file…… and yet I did!

  16. Hi Pos 🙂
    Yep, spot on & I am sharing your post 🙂
    Mine did all that was described & I am always amazed by the patterning of them. I still cannot understand why they think they are superior when all they do is copy & paste people! lol 😉
    If they are so smart as they seem to think, then why aren’t they original?
    They mostly follow the same script & now we have the internet, we can all share & support & know how ludicrous they really are.
    For everyone here, remember we are just pieces on their chess board & they think they’re the king or queen. Judging from their behaviour, I think we are the Kings & Queens, Knights & Castle’s etc…& the pawns are them! They trot out the same crap over & over & get taken off the board. Their moves aren’t that intelligent when you know the game so, it’s the knowing that gives us the ultimate power. Once we realize that our awareness moves us into the higher position, they have no choice but, to concede & leave us the hell alone.
    I am so happy to report that I am nearly 2 years free of Mr Control freak & loving it. My heart is alive & well & thriving & the pain has gone.
    I know everyone here is at a different stage/scenario but, I am confident that if you stay NC you too will be me one day. 🙂

    Love & Light xoxox PR 🙂

    1. Exactly the truth will always set you free. That is where I began, on a forum for victims and noticed the same pattern. It wasn’t just my story, it was everyone’s story. So began this blog. Often writing as I was experiencing it. For real. It never changes the patterning never changes. Its just the same.

  17. What makes sociopaths so strong in our society is, I fear, that such a behaviour as the one described above
    “as research confirms, all psychopaths suffer from a shallowness of emotion that makes their bonding ephemeral and superficial, at best. When they want something–or someone–they pursue that goal with all their might. They concentrate all of their energies upon it. When that goal is your money or a job or something outside of yourself, their pursuit may appear somewhat fake. You’re a means to an end.”
    is actually praised even outside of competitive work environments, of big companies, of big cities. It’s getting increasingly cool to be cunning and calculating. Politeness is often seen as a weakness. We are expected to be succesful sharks, and speaking mildly, being caring and careful of hurting others, being nice just because we are all human beings, regardless of what we can give to one another, is increasingly seen as dumbness, being slow, not being fit for this world. I even hear young mothers boast that they don’t spend too much time and energy on their children, ha, who do they (the children) think they are??
    This not always true, nor of everybody, I am not condoning pessimism or misanthropy (this would mean to give up to the socio’s distruction and to his/her bleak view of life) but still…

    1. Oh gosh yes misa I agree with you. After my daughter died believe me I met much much worse people than the last sociopath. He has his issues and his brain just works that way. I sadly in the last 5 years have met a lot of selfish taking self centred jealous and vindictive people who weren’t sociopaths. How many mothers do you see these days glued to their phone Facebook computer screens with small children? A lot. And then mothers who constantly post sexually explicit selfies online. It’s a bizarre society…. I wonder if it was always this way, or if I have only recently noticed? I don’t know.

  18. Question… is the mirroring and bonding phases only in a romantic relationship?? I ask because I think I’ve been through this with a woman, my sister in law. Our husbands are brothers. This “psychopathic bonding” sounds exactly like what she’s put me through about 9 years now, until we stopped talking to her and her family all together. The best way I can describe it in short was a “single white female” so I thought she had BPD for a long time and was my copycat because she had some kind of “loss of identity” but I’ve done A LOT more research and I think she’s more like a psychopath or a narcissist which scared me enough not to want to have anything to do with her anymore… It was a very weird relationship. She’d be friendly and talkative but then give me the cold shoulder whenever she felt like it, I ALWAYS had to start the conversation first with her, She’d buy things that I bought but would rarely complimented me and if she did it always came out sounding so fake, she’d mimic my voice, my hand gestures, words I’d use. It was creepy. It felt like she was “stealing” my identity, not complimenting it. She’s very passive aggressive, lies, moody, manipulative, guilt trips, super controlling, her hubby is very submissive and she isolates him, she never takes blame for everything, a pot stirer, she uses the “hoovering” technique, she doesn’t really seem to have any close friends and she but she’s high functioning and intelligent and the bread winner in her family. I don’t know why she was using “psychopathic bond” like techniques on me, but I followed my instincts a lot and was aware of what she was doing most of the time. I felt like what she was trying to convey was that she wanted me to believe that “she is just like me” I just don’t know WHY she was doing it. I’m pretty sure she wanted something. Narcissistic supply? I just don’t know. I’m glad she’s out of our lives though, even if she does try to make contact every once in awhile. We just ignore her.

    1. I am not sure about psychopathic/sociopathic, as they don’t give you the cold shoulder, unless they have sourced supply elsewhere. If she was a sister in law and using you to play the game, well….. she would continue to do so. They can keep up the act. For a very long time. And keep going with it. It wouldn’t be in her interests to give you the cold shoulder, BPD…. might be closer, as they push people away when they have real or perceived sense of abandonment?

    2. It sounds like you’re describing having a sociopath in your family as a sister in law. I’m surprised she would be the bread winner – that is highly atypical of a sociopath – though some do grab big money – there was probably much more to it than that.. — Sociopaths have no emotions of positive bonding. They mimic real humans – so sometimes they just skip it (cold shoulder time.) Especially if she isn’t getting money from you directly then she really doesn’t need you. They use the silent treatment with their prey – her husband – when they want to check out, use it as control or punishment – really they just need a break because they’re too busy with their other simultaneous targets and victims — Sociopaths don’t have real relationships it;s all a scam. They live off of other ppl entirely.– I hope your brother was bale to escape. All family members need to go No Contact with her FOREVER.

  19. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and admitted to the hospital for 5 days, he came by the first night for a while, crawled in bed with me and cuddled and comforted me, then left and went hunting for a week. I didn’t hear from him again until I had been out of the hospital for 2 days. After that, he pretty much acted as if nothing had changed even though my life had just turned upside down and I was half blind and unable to walk and being pumped full of steroids. I got little to no compassion from him, and when I did it seemed as though he were only doing it when other people would notice. — and think ‘he’s taking such good care of her!’ He said to me once, “I’m tired of helping you.” while he sat on the couch and I was doing something I needed help with. That was like a punch in the stomach. He wouldn’t help me carry groceries, and he’d let doors swing shut in my face when my arms were full. He’d shoulder past me and push me out of the way trying to get places. He’d make me walk down 5 flights of stairs on a bad knee because he didn’t want to wait for the elevator. Oh dear, I’ve gone off on a tangent.

  20. i don’t know if anyone else feels like this, but i would give anything for some real proof that he is really this bad or sick. Proof that he’s done this before or is doing it to the new supply that replaced me. Talking to a therapist doesn’t help because all they know is what i tell them. And I’m the “the psycho ex-girlfriend” who can’t take being rejectected and “replaced with something better” according to him. And since he “never loved me” that explains why he was so mean, i just wasn’t getting the message!

    Maybe he really loves the new one. She gets treated with a better situation & lots more affection. I feel beyond stupid and pathetic….avoiding all people now.

    1. He treats everyone nice in the beginning. She will get the same awful treatment in the end when he is fine with her. This is simply a replay of what he did to you. She’s not special at all. The FACTS are your proof. Stay NO CONTACT at all costs. Good riddance.

    2. Dear Sweet Guppie,

      I married a sociopath too. Met and married within 7 days – my gosh, they’re good at what they do – which is CON everyone. I totally understand you wanting to “know” the truth. Here it is in essence for all of us snagged by a sociopath: Nope. No one gets treated “better” by them.The sociopath makes it look like they do – at least for awhile until he’s bored, or takes everything he wants from her and ruins her life. Sociopaths are unable to love. They’r born with an abnormal brain that does not feel — does not FEEL – any positive bonding emotions. No like. No love. No care. No compassion. No concern for anyone but themselves. Like a reptile. — Some people are treated worse than others by a sociopath as in some are utterly destroyed financially, physically, emotionally… some are killed. Some end up killing themselves. Some are less devastated. — Sociopaths are all alike. They have very limited thinking all aimed at their own survival and they do anything to other people to survive – they all use the same tactics of assessing a target, winning trust, then taking then ruining behind our backs – then we break up – or they leave suddenly and unexpectedly and coldly — and then they smear us. — This is all a sociopath is capable of. They also always have anywhere form 5 – 20 people they are scamming in rotating, cycles and overlapping beginnings and endings in constant rotation.- There is no “he was with me and dumped me for her.” They have many women or men all at the same time ALWAYS. It only looks like a succession of “relationships” because that is what they show us. – These aren’t relationships – they are crimes. There is recovery – there is happiness for – now – as we all did or all will when ending a scam with a sociopath you’re in post traumatic stress. Part of the sear campaign a sociopath carries out against a discarded victim (us) is telling other’s we’re “crazy”, “mentally ill”, “in love with them and won’t let go”, “they never loved us” – these are the standard stories they give in some combo about each discarded or “used up” prey – which is what we are to them. They love NO ONE. You could have done nothing differently. There is nothing wrong with you. You are AWESOME!!!! Sending you wisdom, courage and understanding.

    3. A person with this disorder won’t support you even when something tragic happens like a family member dies they are so removed from emotion ! It’s never about you it’s all about them and they will drawer you in and push you back out when it suits them. They do same to everyone and divide you by backstabbing to others ! Don’t give them a thought again cos they sure aren’t thinking about you X

    4. I think my ex’s ex girlfriends thought the same thing about him and I when we first started dating. He was so kind to me and faked affection. A few months in he admitted he refuses to kiss me anymore because he never liked it and only did it to make me happy. I started catching him writing to other women. He said to one mutual friend after a group dinner that he couldn’t keep his eyes off of her the entire night. I was there! And he never said things like that to me. We both made it seem we were the best couple to ever exist in the beginning. But the facade wore off after many months. Trust that.

  21. Does anyone have children with their ex and still have to deal with them? My ex uses my children against me, they are not allowed to talk about me, love me, or be around me. I have been away from him for over 10 years and its still that way. He is physically abusive to the kids and animals. He was physically abusive with me when we was together. Cps, court, and everyone else feel sorry for him like he is the good guy and I’m just trying to cause trouble for him. I am so sick of it! I’m in counseling, but they are not helping at all.

    1. The same situation and all these years later after telling the courts that he’d bring my boys up better than me , heckeftctgem to fend for themselves! Latch key kids! They can’t leave him, their still living at home on a pig sty with him, he’s rendered them incapable of standing on their own two feet! He took them away from me only to spite me ! They fell for his lies about buying them whatever they wanted! That’s not love !!

      1. Julia I am so sorry. My situation is so close to yours. I was lucky and won by a hair in court. He wanted to take our son away for SPITE. He wanted me to have an abortion yet fought for full custody. Stay strong and keep posting here for support. Xx

      2. Thanks, he had money and I didn’t have as much to show on paper and life was a struggle but I did my best always putting the boys needs before my own ! My eldest son has fallen out with me cos I disagreed with him experimenting with drugs! The sociopathic father said to me ‘ I shouldn’t have disagreed as now my son would take drugs more’ I get the blame for trying to protect my own sons! They are grown men now but still behaving like teenagers ! Oh the judge was wrong when she advised me just to leave them to their own lives! The law says children above a certain age can choose which patent to live with and he manipulated them both ! I was the one caring about their education ! I find out all these years later he went off to work and my youngest would stay at home alone on computer games all day! The school collaborated with him and I was not even informed of my sons absence! I was powerless mother kept away and unable to communicate with my own sons ! I also found out years later that my youngest son had tried to commit suicide, although I am never quite sure what the truth is !

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