Posted by: dianaiannarone | January 25, 2014

A Very Detailed Look at the Distinguishing Differences Between a Sociopath and a Narcissist; from My Perspective

Although I am not a clinician, I feel comfortable saying that I have a high degree of expertise in understanding the behaviors and patterns of sociopathy,  I garnered my knowledge by foolishly choosing continual suffering under sociopaths’ “rule” for more than 15 years.  These choices were made in all walks of life, my personal relationships, my business partnerships, and worst of all…BOTH.  Surely being in such a single relationship for 15 years, and experiencing the lasting impact of such insidious behavior would give anyone wisdom and cause great despair. Yet in some ways, I look upon my experience covering multiple sociopathic relationships in that time frame with gratitude, because what I am clear on is that I was able to learn that the patterns of each of these sociopathic individuals differ very little. This awareness can be quite empowering. Knowing their calculating mind grants us, at varying levels, power over their “games” and a clearer escape route when we realize that leaving is the only correct option. This I know.  I specialize in helping people out of these relationships, because it is what I know and what I must do!

Upon finally obtaining the knowledge of traits, patterns, and deviant behaviors—the many red flags—I was granted a keen clarity as I moved past that life. This awareness is what gave me the ability to steer clear of sociopaths over the last seven years…and steer clear still yet today. I spot them with relative ease…and sure it is always conceivable that I could be wrong at times in my somewhat quick assessments, but I spend little time pondering that. Rather, I choose to only surround myself in love and anything in contrast to that can be easily released. That decision to surround myself in only Love is what led to my next awakening.  The awakening was to understanding the vastly different, although in some ways remotely the same, strategies of the narcissist.

I have now come to realize that I sort of grouped sociopathy and narcissism in the same category, to my huge detriment. It is when we are blind to any truth that we can be bitten by it. Now I assuredly and with conviction include narcissism in my repertoire of knowledge. It is the fact that the elements of behavior are a distinctively different modus operandi, that caused me to almost miss the reality of the trap I was poised to enter.

Any of us can conclude that engaging with those with no conscience is unbearable…yet the element of surprise in the entanglement with a narcissist might feel even more readily unrecoverable, once you are destroyed by it; as if any annihilation could be measured as “worse.”  This avoidable pain is why we must educate and help people see the truth and signs of all these unconscionable beings, regardless of what label might be suitable. I choose to make increasing awareness of the prevalence of these individuals part of my life purpose, thereby giving meaning to my previous suffering and reward for my past pain.

Granted, there certainly is overlap of characteristics in these dark shadow dwellers…but from my perspective the game is played quite differently between a sociopath and a narcissist, which is how I managed to be partly deceived again this last year.  This time, thankfully, my past experiences made me aware and observant and allowed me to acknowledge in my mind and heart the possibility that all that was being shown to me was, well, just a lie. THIS awareness makes it much less painful, but painful nonetheless. Because of my willingness to acknowledge that someone could betray at such a depth, I was released from the debilitating destruction that I would have otherwise known. Yet encountering that experience, gave me insight into a new level of pain caused by the sudden and complete disregard that I understand now is pure narcissism.

The variance in strategy between these two harmful beings is measurable and can catch you a bit off guard if you don’t consider the stark difference.

Similarities between Sociopaths and Narcissists in my experience

  • The claim they have never been loved like this before.
  • They often state that no one has ever understood them as you do.
  • They desire to move quickly, (marriage, live together, children) and claim a once-in-a-lifetime love. Of course they must move quickly so they trap you, before you see the truth!
  • They talk about Soul mates, spiritual connection, twin flames, and many lifetimes together.
  • They claim they have been victimized/betrayed/crucified by those they loved and trusted. They long to find their path again, or for the first time.
  • They both strive to isolate you.
  • They both lie to accomplish whatever their goal is in the moment.
  • There is a mystique or aura of attraction—a charisma (at least to those that are asleep, once awake, that feeling is more like nausea).

Similarities; with a subtle and critical difference

  • Devoted claims of Love, a forever mentality, a honeymoon phase.

The sociopath though, loves intermittently. You get doused in it…then you see some anger and hate, then you get doused in love again, and then you see anger and hate and so on. You keep believing in the relationship because when you are doused in the love it feels so good that you keep trying to behave better so you can get that love back. Part of that behavior is not seeing and doing things that upset him. Often the most paramount thing that creates issues is the intensity of his/her jealousy so you feel forced to isolate from everyone to avoid his/her wrath.

The narcissist “loves” so amazingly, that you almost are no longer grounded in reality…at all.  It is like you are in a state of Euphoria…surreal…a love beyond earthly possibilities and you never want to lose it, so you are 100% devoted and will even isolate yourself with little effort on his/her part. You want more of the beautiful, never before feeling of being loved, even though it is only an illusion.

  • They are both bullies. The narcissist is more subtle in his/her bullying technique. The sociopath bullies by often diminishing and controlling you. The narcissists’ bullying is often held until you question or push back on “his/her majesty.” The sociopath has a better awareness of his/her deviance and cruelty.  The narcissist, has awareness, but cannot accept it, because to accept it would mean he would have to acknowledge he was not the pure goodness, god-like being he chooses to believe he/she is.
  • Whatever went wrong is ultimately our fault, although this is presented quite differently with a sociopath vs. a narcissist. They both blame. The sociopaths’ blame is wrapped in the idea, that you are a bad person, that you have bad intentions. The narcissists’ is more about insisting you failed to love them as devotedly as they love you, leaving you with the impression that you can fix this.
  • They both objectify you, one for control,  the other for attention/supply. Realizing this means that neither one, no matter what you may see or feel to the contrary, have the slightest consideration that you are a human, with true feelings and emotions.

For a sociopath:  You are simply an object that they wish to manipulate and control.

For a narcissist: You are simply an object to provide their source of love and adoration, which is defined by stroking their ego to continually, perpetually, reinforce their god-like image. It is almost a worship, and they make themselves seem worthy of it.

  • They both criticize you, one to make you small, the other to “help guide you.”

A sociopath is more overt than the narcissist, they talk about the devoted love and wanting the two of you nestled in a “cocoon of love,” but they are less like a god and more like a victim…”but I have been so harmed by people that were supposed to love me” and you feel you want to heal them and make them whole. You want to behave so as not to betray them. They speak of betrayal by all those before you…so you are devoted to absolute loyalty, on a tightrope to never betray them.

A narcissist is more covert: They present themselves to model the behavior they want to receive from you. They reflect a certain level of “nobility,” “sacred love,” a sense that they long for that dream love they have always wanted, that they have given but never received. You are set up to feel you must aspire to that level of pure Love…devoted of course to them, as they claim he/she will be to you. He/she speaks of being misunderstood, always doing good, yet crucified nonetheless, much like Christ. He/she doesn’t understand why people turn on him/her, genuinely, they don’t understand.  They do not accept the truth about themselves.

Illustration of the Subtle Differences from My Perspective

Sociopath vs. Narcissist

Sociopath says: “It is all your fault because if you didn’t do that, I would not have done this…”

You are saying to yourself, what just happened? I didn’t do anything wrong.  Why is he telling me I did?  You are clear you didn’t do anything wrong, but you feel the need to not hurt him again, betray him, so you rein in your behavior. You are focused on not harming him.

He/she says this so you will behave better next time—you will be more careful not to hurt him, make him jealous, say something wrong, you will act better, behave, so you will not hurt him, like so many before you have.

You are now being controlled.

So in essence a sociopath shames youyou are a bad person (tramp, slut, whore, liar, thief) and then you feel guilty and begin to doubt yourself. Wow, am I that? Behavior you always thought was okay, suddenly makes you feel dirty or bad, and so you change your behavior. You think, if he just needs me to rein in this so he can feel more secure, then I should.  He/she will love me, once they know I would never hurt them.

So with a sociopath you are trying to get them to see you as the good person you are. You try and prove you are not the slut, tramp, liar he/she says you are.

Yet, you never will.

Narcissist: They are more subtle, a sort of, “I told you it would hurt me if you did this, and now you have done this…such pain you cause me.”

You are saying, “Wow, he/she did tell me that these were things he didn’t want me to do, and I guess I did kind of do that…wow I feel so bad.” The narcissist is a little better at positioning things so that the guilt/shame he puts on you seems more real…like there is just enough truth in it, based on how he set things up. Like if you heed his/her guidance you will somehow be a better person. You are focused on Loving him as he describes he deserves.

He/she says things in this manner so you will love them more completely, more fully devote yourself to them…it is about getting more love from you, more strokes to his/her fragile ego—as this is not surprising since it is, of course, all about him/her.

So in essence a narcissist guilts you—presents to you the opportunity for growth. He claims that you didn’t love him the way a person that loves him should.  This is especially true if you question or push back on him/her.  He/she will say things like “and she says she knows me” or “how could you think this of me? Big problem if you believe this of me!” As a result you feel shame and you try harder to love him more devotedly; you know, as well as he loves you. And he does love you well…it just isn’t real.

So with a narcissist, you are trying to love him as he/she deserves/requires to be loved, so that you will be worthy of him/her staying with you, so you will continue to be the chosen one and therefore receive his/her devoted love.

The distinction is this:

With a sociopath:  You failed to be a good person.

With a narcissist: You failed to love him/her like they deserve/require.

The Sociopath is constantly reaching out, touching base claiming they are missing you, desiring you…loving you, especially in your absence. They want to see you receive this well because then they know they can delude you. They pursue you hard and long. They are relentless.

What they are really doing is hunting you and assessing your whereabouts so they know what you are doing, who you are with—it’s all about control. You feel loved by all the devoted attention, you feel you must be really important…you do not see it as stalking, you see it as loving attention.

A sociopath chooses you and then hooks you, and he knows you are hooked when he can control you…financially, spiritually, emotionally, mentally etc.

The Narcissist may frequently reach out…yet it is sometimes only at first, although this is not always the case. They want to see who will devote themselves to them…make them the center of their world, so they invite you to call, reach out. They tell you how important and happy it makes them feel when you do show them love, attention, value their work or efforts and when we comply as the devoted supporter, they tell us how beautiful we are, how they are so lucky to have found us, that we are the most important person in their life, their priority, and away we go to our destruction. They are better than any other at responding to you, and mimicking what you need, want, desire…the perfect person…whose persona is nothing more than whatever it has to be to get your devoted love, praise, adoration—Supply. They want to be pursued, admired, ideally—worshipped.

What they are really doing is seeing if you will turn all your attention on them., At an unconscious level they believe they need your air being breathed into them to survive.  They experience a sense of being nothing without your supply.

A narcissist chooses you based on how you respond to them, how you love them, how much you stroke their ego and make them feel like they are bigger than life, important, talented; that is their fuel.

Very Important Distinctive Difference in Behaviors

Sociopath: The mask slips rather frequently on a sociopath. Their evil is more present, more visible and yet we excuse it away. We see their acts of cruelty, their violent/aggressive/critical words/ and actions…but they manage to control us and convince us that what they just did was just a result of their troubled childhood, they want to be better, they will be better, because we are worth it. They wouldn’t have done such cruel things if we hadn’t said or done whatever we did.  Then they will blame, yell, scream, diminish, insult, call us names…but then they ask for our empathy, which is both our greatest strength and our greatest weakness. They will ask us to understand that their wound is so deep because of their past and so we forgive. Of course we still believe we are to blame, we will have to behave better next time, so as not to hurt and upset them so much. It is the least we can do for their poor hurting souls.

This is a huge distinction because, this is what should have been our red flag. This is where the obvious warning rests…and if we heeded it we would save ourselves. If we simply asked ourselves if we would do what we witnessed them do, we might realize and label their behavior as cruel, and begin to decide we need to get out.

Later, when we are out and awake, we can see this and say…we should have known better.  Remember though both narcissists and sociopaths use their “charm” to charm us under their spell.  We want to believe in them, and they want it that way.

There is an expression by Dolly Parton  “The first time someone shows you their true colors, believe them.”  From this day forward…

Narcissist:  Because they want you to pursue them, they are extraordinary at making us  feel devotedly and consistently loved. They do this for one reason; so they can get their supply.  Uniquely then, their mask does not slip as much as a sociopath’s. They only want someone that will give them everything they need, so they present a nearly flawless, love-filled being to you. So, they don’t hunt, as much as choose.  They choose you, and you feel chosen, a sense of being the “lucky one.”  They lure you in, but then observe just how devoted to them you will be. If you don’t come through, they try and spur you on, but if nothing satisfies them, then they move to the next person in waiting, without much warning to you.  There are shifts, if you know what to look for, like shorter and less frequent contacts, less pouring on of love…this is their trolling phase where they ignite those in the wings to come to the center.

While you are coming through for them with your devotion to their level of expectation or beyond, wow, you will get the illusion of love, honor and support of a lifetime…for awhile anyway. Until the discard. You will see little drops in the mask, a sort of hot and cold behavior if you push back or question them.  If you continue to disagree with them,  you will soon be gone. Ultimately, the discard occurs because it is impossible for anyone to satisfy the unquenchable need for love, attention and adoration these empty, seemingly soulless individuals require. Imagine you are breathing into a balloon that is the size of our planet, and imagine incessantly blowing the air into it, to fill it…and when you attempt to gather your breath and strength to continue your devoted desire to give all you have…they are already gone, disgusted by your pause…it happens before you know what happened. The mask begins to slip when they are ready for the discard, and often not before, aside from glimpses if you push back or question. That sudden death, is the part that is so impossible to grasp…ON…OFF.  Period. Very little warning, it is just done. This is the part that is so difficult to comprehend and causes the horrible experience of cognitive dissonance.  What did I do wrong?  He/she Loved me so devotedly?  Suddenly, you are dead to them, as long as they have another fulfilling source; although, they will attempt to keep you in the wings….they realize they might need you, their OBJECT and source, soon. When they contact you, they expect you to be ready to restore all your love to them.

The Termination from My Perspective

The nature of the “ending”  is a significant important difference.

Sociopath:  This relationship is over on his/her terms.  And if you ever try and end it they will try everything to stop you…everything; charm, violence, deceit, crime, set-ups, threaten their suicide, threaten your death, revealing your secrets…you name it.  He/she MUST have someone to control and if you leave on your terms, then they FAILED, LOST…that cannot happen.  Sociopaths are in some ways more evil…because their intention from the beginning was to harm, control, WIN. That is the part that makes sociopathy harder to grasp.  How can someone be so cruel?

It is this refusal to release that is so shocking and unbearable. You want to get free and you can’t. They keep finding new ways to trap you, guilt you, shame you…overpower you.  No limits on what they will do to keep you.  And as long as they feel in control…it is all good—for them.

The sociopath fades away when he is clear he no longer controls you.  Once you take your power back, he/she is having no fun. (In the case of having children with one, it is sadly rarely if ever over, as the pawn is the child(ren) in the game that he leverages and uses to control you. Certainly there are things you can do to help manage through these difficulties, but it is a sad scenario indeed).

Narcissist:  The narcissist seems less aware of just how evil he/she is. They come into every relationship just blindly looking for that fuel, love, adoration, praise…the world in their mind, revolves around them…and they see no issue or challenge with that?!  They believe that they cannot live without the fuel for their ego, they can never be empty of fuel.  So in essence they need a harem, or a supply that goes broad and deep. They don’t see this as an issue. In their confused minds they are giving love, so what is the problem?  Yet, they cannot really give love…they are simply mimicking the kind of behavior that they know they must do to get their supply. If you relinquish some of your devotion, lessen their supply or show the slightest inkling that you are questioning their superior self…you are being moved to the discard pile. Thou shall not question thy King! Then BOOM gone, UNLESS, the new chosen one fails to comply, then he will return with his/her “love” and charm…and attempt to lure you back in, and if he/she is successful, your pain will be twice as bad as you recover from yet another discard.

The search for devoted souls never ends for them, and you are always in play, unless he/she knows there is nothing for them from you anymore. The lack of evidence of evil that virtually does not appear in any meaningful way until the end is near, is what I feel makes the discard so shocking and unbearable. This is like the death of a loved one in a sudden car crash—no preparation time to prepare for the loss, all you loved is just gone and it is devastating. There were little to no signs it might end until the end was nearly upon you, whereas with sociopathy, you know there is trouble, you experience his/her hate, you just keep hoping beyond hope it will all resolve and you will get that love back you once felt. This is why I say recovery from narcissistic “love” is so difficult, because you can’t go back and see the evil like we can with sociopathy, so you just feel you screwed up, somehow it was your fault, it had to be, nothing else makes sense. But hear me; it wasn’t your fault.

The narcissist fades away when he/she can no longer get your attention, adoration, love—supply.  As I said he/she may return, and he/she will expect his/her ample dose of supply. Whenever he/she returns, once a week, once a month, once a year, he/she expects your full cooperation and anticipates you will devote yourself completely. Once there is a full release, although devastating…it at least allows for no contact, which you need in order to recover and yet you will not want to have no contact.

Both of these relationships are addictive in that you want more of what you know you should not have. And neither of these individuals truly LOVE anything. They are incapable of love.  YOU must embrace that to move forward.

 Considerations and a Metaphor to Exemplify the Differences

Remember both traits can exist in one individual. Most of us have some narcissistic traits, wanting validation, attention, to be adored, loved…but it is the willingness to give that to others in true unconditional form that distinguishes us from “them.”  A sociopath, instead just wants control…the rest is unimportant, no matter how important they may delude you into believing anything else is, controlling you is all that matters.

Know that this psychopathy does not discriminate; perpetrator and victim can be either gender.

A dear friend of mine gave me a metaphor of a narcissist and sociopath in the water. I expounded on it and believe this metaphor depicts the experience in each type of relationship reasonably well:

Imagine being in the water…

If you are with a sociopath: He has little doubt that he can swim, but all that really matters to him is that you too are in the water. In every moment he is calculating, how can I manipulate or harm this person so I can win whatever contrived game I have conjured in my head. As a result, he will take pleasure in pretending he can’t swim, at which time you will swim to rescue him, as you have so many times before. He will of course, pull you under, because he can. You decide he is just panicking, and try harder to save him. But he is not pulling you under because he is panicking, no, he is just pulling you under because he can. He does not concern himself as to whether or not you can breathe, or whether or not you are okay, he is just purely taking pleasure in manipulating you into helping him, watching how hard you are trying to save him, and in the end, if he is standing on your head and you are underwater, he won.  That simple.  Later, he will tell you how he was panicked, he is so sorry, how he never meant to harm you. And it will never happen again.  He may even express a fleeting second of gratitude, coupled with how if you were really trying to save him you would have done a better job.

So my advice is, if you are with a sociopath, and he screams for help in the water…from a distance say “I know you can do it honey!  I hope you pull this off!”  And you know what?  He easily will, and then he will tell the story of his/her near death experience and how you idly watched him suffer.  And knowing you didn’t respond to his/her performance demanding assistance, he will now know you just aren’t going to be as much fun anymore. So he will raise the stakes, try harder to garner a reaction from you.  Note that the less you save him, the freer you will become. Once you are empowered to not rescue him, you are positioned to find your way out. A sociopath is more aware than a narcissist of the harm he causes. A sociopath is just focused on winning, defined by controlling you in whatever way he decides.

If you are with a narcissist: He believes he cannot swim and cannot learn to swim without someone else to help him. He feels he needs someone else for his/her survival.  So seeing you in the water, he will naturally start climbing up you to get to the source, air, but he is not doing this to harm you. He really isn’t even paying attention to you. He is just thinking about himself, his/her survival and getting to the surface. He sees you there and says there she is, there is my means of getting my source of air!  I am so grateful to be in the water with this person/object. What would I do without this person/object? Oh they are so beautiful to me right now. And we of course are happy to help him get to the surface. He is not trying to drown us, he is just taking himself to the surface in the only manner he sees that will work. The hard part about being in the water with a narcissist is given his/her mask seldom slips you can’t even imagine abandoning him…so you save the love of your life. You devote every ounce of energy you have to this effort. Now you can hardly breath, you are exhausted…you have nothing left to give. You are no longer focused on him you are catching your breath to recover, so he is done with you.  No supply = No value.

The narcissist is more self deluded. He doesn’t get that he is evil. He can’t accept that because acknowledging that would destroy him in his mind. Actually, it might begin to set him free, if only he could accept the truth of his nature.

The most important thing to remember is that either way YOU are ultimately going to drown. Don’t get in the water…and if you are in the water, swim to safety without him/her.

In the end, the label means nothing.  What matters, is your peace, well being and happiness.

Copyright 2014 by Diana Iannarone


  1. […] A Very Detailed Look at the Distinguishing Differences between a Sociopath and a Narcissist; from My… […]

    • Thank you! I have immersed myself in research of Narcissism and Sociopathy and this Is hands down THE best I’ve come across. You nailed it. Very helpful. It’s amazing how many times I went back after swearing I never would, and feeling it too.
      Thank you again. I think you should write a book.

      • Thank you so much! Yup, it takes a while before we can value ourselves enough to be free! And I did write a book:)
        It took me twenty years to write it and I truly believe it is guide to Freedom:) Read the reviews and see if it resonates…a new review was posted today:) I really appreciate your taking the time to comment and support my message.

    • (In the case of having children with one, it is sadly rarely if ever over, as the pawn is the child(ren) in the game that he leverages and uses to control you. Certainly there are things you can do to help manage through these difficulties, but it is a sad scenario indeed).

      You allude to the fact that there are certainly things you can do to help manage through these difficulties but exactly what are those things that I can do to help me manage?

      Another point: A sociopath controls and manipulates and this can be seen at work (sometimes they are called bosses but not necessarily). A sociopath will control and manipulate a narcissist, a psychopath, guilt ridden, empathetic person, or even a normal person to get them to do the dirty work for them to YOU. This is especially true in a work environment and can be true in a home with children (they use them against you) or other family members plus even councilors, teachers and others (police even). Since most people think they are dealing with a rational person who thinks somewhat like them, the others do not realize that the sociopath is devious and charming and can win them to the point of view wanted easily. Also, even counselors and therapists are easily manipulated by the sociopath since counselors and therapists develop a co-dependency thinking they can fix the sociopath when in reality they cannot.

      • Thank you for your comment. Without knowing your situation it is difficult to answer, but a few things I have helped people with is:

        Learn how to respond with the knowledge of their predictable behavior, in essence, beat them at their own game. New responses, new behaviors from you the previous over cooperative victim puts them off balance, just the way we like it.

        I have found this to be incredibly effective and help people with this often, beginning with simply crafting text responses and emails to diffuse their ability to manipulate. When someone receives a communication, we evaluate and give great care in the response given, designed to get the outcome we desire.

        Also, if no contact is executed then of course there are various third parties that can be utilized, but it is getting the right information to that third party, within the confines of the law. Often “they” will
        arrange for the child investigator, as a threat, but strategic planning may, and has been known to alter the outcome in the “victims” favor.

        Bottom line, when you know what they are trying to do, and stand beyond their threats, you may be victorious. Again though, I wouldn’t want anyone to take these thoughts out of context. Everything is case by case and I am not a lawyer.

        I agree with your “another point” completely. It is being awake, aware that these individuals exist, that is the main hope to be able to spot them. When you are unaware, being duped is far more likely.

      • Don’t worry – my children, as adults, can see completely through him now. My constant UNCONDITIONAL love, minus the rages and mood swings has made them trust me implicitly. They also realise that he will never be happy – always looking for something/someone better. I imagine if he lives to 90, he will still be weighing up if he should/should have left me, if he can get somebody better!!!!

      • BRAVO for you! I am so glad that your children can see the truth. A huge step forward in living a happy life! You go girl!

    • I just want to say…THIS IS, BY FAR, ONE OF THE BEST BLOGS PIECES I HAVE READ! I have been studying this for over 15 years. I have been involved with both and my mother is a BPD. I am very knowledgeable on the subject as well and you have written a very amazing piece of literature. Thank you for spreading the awareness! <3!

      • Thank you SO much for your kind words!!It means even more knowing your experiences and the work you have done to understand this crazy truth!

  2. […] A Very Detailed Look at the Distinguishing Differences between a Sociopath and a Narcissist; from My… […]

  3. Wow you nailed it! I have had experiences with both and this is one of the best perspectives I have read on the subject.

    • Thank you so much! I so appreciate your comment. And yes, I too can say, been there, done that;)!

  4. I’m not sure if I agreed with everything you wrote. Just the fact that you re being descriminatory against man. Why do you referred as him as the sociopath. There is no sex when it comes to the defenition of sociopath. There is also a purpose a goal for the sociopath to act they way they do. Otherwise the term doesn’t fall into this behavior. There has to be a goal and they are very sure on what they want to achieve and how they carry out their plan. Caused everything is calculated, planned out. How do we recognized this behavior and how to removed yourself from a situation like that . You have to figured out their fears there are not many , but them being exposed to others is their biggest fear. Careful on how you do it. That’s when you put an end to it. There is no coming back from that. Exposed them anyway you can start with friends, family social media and move your way up. Even after you break up make sure they re exposed on line as many places you can or it’s allow . Think about the next victim don’t think about what happened to you at least you re lucky to be out of that relationship, think of the next victim they go after.

    • Hello and thanks for writing. I totally agree sociopaths are not gender specific. I may not have expressed that in this video, but if you watch my videos in general or read my book, I do make that clear. Beyond that I agree with what you wrote here…and it mirrors much of what I say in various content. The particular video you are commenting on had a different focus then the behavior as you describe…yet I agree and reflect much of what you say as you review my full content. And I seldom expect everyone to agree with all that I say, it is just my perspective. Take what has value for you and leave the rest:) Thanks for your sharing your views.

  5. I found this article to be quite accurate when considering the sociopath. I am not sure of the other. The sociopath, to me is truly a mean, cruel, individual who will eventually resort to violence. I even believe they are very capable of murder. They get so hysterically mad that they are out of their minds. They will begin abusing with words, actions, and then their fists. There is no way to change these people so just get out.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Yes, they certainly can move to rage and getting out is surely the only answer. There is no redeeming them, they are indeed simply cruel and will never know joy that exists.

  6. This is phenomenal.

    • Thank you so much Coco! I appreciate your thoughts and your choosing to share them!

  7. Reblogged this on Life & Times after Daddy BooBoo and commented:
    Wow!!!! This article will explain exactly what Daddy Booboo was like. A full fledged Narcissist. Now I find myself much too close to a sociopath. My therapy has started. Time will help me break the cycle.

    • I am so glad that my article had a positive impact on you. And indeed, breaking the cycle is key. Been there sister:) You got this.

  8. Reblogged this on My Blog.

    • Thank you for reblogging! I had trouble reading your whole blog, but I think that is because somehow you ended up in my spam file? I am going to attempt it again.

      I am sorry for your pain, and I am so glad you are giving voice to your story. The more we speak the less power these predators will have, because raising awareness brings power to those that need it. Thank you for standing in your truth and thereby empowering others! I started following you.

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    • Thank you. Techie I am not:) I will check it out though.

  10. OK, so I came upon this website because I suspect the man I was with is a sociopathic narcissist. Long story short, I met him online in Orlando, he said i was his soulmate, it was love at first sight..he wooed me..(although at the time he was out of a job, told me his company that he had started had failed due to bad business relationships. By googling his name, I could see at least his professional career was transparent, and it was pretty impressive! he had a TV show, was a commentator on the Travel Channel, had run several magazines as editorial director, traveled to over 100 countries.. loved french culture (like me) was a single dad (i am a single mom) was an amazing writer, phenomenal photographer (above and underwater).. he was a true renaissance man.. his website even said so.. lol. he appeared to be, my dream guy. so, even without money, he sold me with his intelligence, experience, past career, awards.. an amazing life he had led up to that point, he seemed soo romantic and soooo into me. This was last may 2013.. fast forward to July, he moved to NYC for work.. he could not find a job here in orlando, and planted the seed in my head to move up with him and bring my two small children with me (ages 5 and 7) they had met him a couple of times and loved, in October 2013, I made the bold move to move my life up to NYC for this man to start, what I thought, was the rest of my life with an amazing guy. well, almost immediately upon moving into the 560 square foot apartment, it dawned on me that maybe, I had made a mistake? My birthday was in the end of october, and he bought me a card you would give to a school teacher and a groupon for a massage.. i was in shock.. I had given him amazing thoguhtful gifts for his birthday in July.. made dinner for him, the whole nine yards. I cried about it to him and told him how disappointed i was.. he said he was sorry and he would make it up to me.. never did. christmas, same thing.. we both agreed, not to give expensive gifts, we both had kids to buy for.. so another holiday gone by with crappy gifts.. valentines day comes and i even tell him specifically what I would love, a bottle of perfume.. he even texts me from the perfume store the day before.. then shows up empty handed.. i was in shock.. i held the tears back until the next day..his claims of being this over-the-top romantic guy went completely out the window…he was never “mean” to me.. but he was extremely critical.. of the place being clean, my kids being too whiny.. he never connected with them.. and they began to hate him.. he was especially mean to my older son, and bullied and teased him.. dylan is a little more sensitive, an empath, like me.. and he preyed on that.. overall i knew something was wrong.. i was giving 100% and he was giving 10%.. I constantly complained to him how unhappy i was and how unhealthy the relationship was.. he had a past relationship that I always found myself comparing ours to.. he was engaged to this woman.. they were together for 3 1/2 years.. beautiful girl.. was an underwater model for him.. worked at the magazine, and they seemed to live the perfect life (from what I could see on facebook anyway).. which by the way.. I was never allowed to tag him, and he never introduced me on facebook as his girlfriend.. he always said it as because his evel ex wife would go after him for more $$$.. then it was because his last relationship failed in the public eye and he was humiliated and could not face that fear again..he would subtly criticize me.. even my looks sometimes.. and I would be upset, crying sometimes and he would say.. I didnt mean to say it like that.. you are too sensitive.. you know I am madly in love with you, I would say that no one in my life had ever said such comments to me.. and he would rebut with “but has any man ever made love to you like I have?” I knew something was not right with him.. from his hatred for his ex wife, dogs.. he said he used to shoot his friends neighbors dogs with a bi-bi gun because their barking annoyed him.. he would talk about how he wanted his ex wife dead.. and wish some hitman would just off her.. talked about how perfect his relationship was with his ex, but she left him high and dry, and that killed him, and he had thoughts of suicide because of it and sent him into a debilitating depression..he would say that sex with me was like a “Gift”.. I told him what crappy gifts he gave.. and that was his response..all the while… saying he is so happy with me and he is still passionate about me and wildly in love. well, I started to detach myself emotionally from him around february, right after valentines, stopped giving so much. my boys saved me, actually, because I could not STAND the way he treated them. he worked most of the time.. he is a magazine editor in nyc and was hardly ever home.. so i began to enjoy my time without him there.. planning my escape back to florida.. i finally left in the end of june, he driove down with me.. and i was so happy to see him leave, actually..but we did not end our relationship then.. at this point, i was just happy to be back home. i felt as though i had lost a part of me.. i felt he was trying to break me down, devalue me, and i wasnt having it.. i would call him out constantly.. tell him what a horrible, selfish person he was, rotten boyfriend.. he never was mean or nasty to me .. always apologetic and always would say he was sorry.. i threatened to leave in march, and he then went out and bought me the perfume that I had wanted for valentines.. brought me flowers, wrote me a poem.. i could tell he was panicking.. but i thought at the time.. wow, he really loves me and wants this to work..if he was treating me like crap it wasnt because he wants out of the relationship.. because he would have just let me go, right!?? anyway, so i came back to orlando, he starts hitting me up every day wanting to plan to come down immediately.. i start feeling stronger here without his toxic presence, and tried telling him it was over, and that i just needed to be on my own for a while..needed to figure things out.. he sent me heartfelt emails and texts about his “unconditional love” for me..his forever, etc.. so i agree to let him come down for a weekend, no harm no foul right. He had agreed to finally make our relationship public.. i was finally going to meet his kids…well, the day after he returned to NYC, I posted a picture of us on instagram, and tagged him. shortly after a girl wrote that she had been dating him recently and thought he was “Single”. I gave her my number and i found out he was dating her from march to june, while the boys and i were there..THEN, a get a text from a random number saying that I was actually the other woman, and he had been dating her for a YEAR before he even met me.. and he lied and carried on his relationship with this woman until about march of this year… at this point I am in complete shock…and for the next few days I am trying to put together the timeline, the 14 months that this man deceived and betrayed me.. from day one.. and convinced me to love to nyc with my boys…I was enraged, shocked, hurt, confused.. and at that point.. i was convinced he was a narcissist.. I went back and forth with him for about 3 days.. he was desperately trying to save the relationship.. saying that these women meant nothing ti him.. that he admitted to using the first woman.. just because he needed to a place to stay when i came to orlando.. that she was a fat disgusting pig and he barely had sex with her . (like bashing her would win me back1/?!?!) and that the other one was clearly mentally unstable and he cut ties with her over a month ago.. he says that he was just in a fog for the past year.. and that fog finally lifted when he came to visit me.. and he had an epiphany, and he was basically pinning EVERYTHING on this weekend.. like it was a life changing event for him.. he was ready to devote his entire life for me.. being completely and utterly loyal.. i was the love of his life.. I think I was in even more shock to hear him beg and try and to convince me to stay.. I mean.. this man had been disloyal to me since DAY 1, and he actually think I would take him back!?!?! he would not stop.. i told him i wanted nothing to do with him and wished to never see him again.. we did text back and forth .. mainly because I was so shocked i wanted to get answers.. when i finally realized i wasnt really getting any, and he was delusional.. i went NO CONTACT. that was 11 days ago. since then, i have been in touch with his exp fiance.. she said now she knows why he FINALLY stopped contacting her. she left him in april 2012. she said she didnt think he as cheating on here at the time, (he was travelling internationally for most of their relationship, every month) but at the end, it didnt matter to her.. she was done and OUT. his ex wife said that it has been a really rough road for her and the kids, 13 and 16, and that she recommended the book, “the sociopath next door” This man has not let up in texting me.. even today.. 11 days after no contact from me.. he is asking for my forgiveness, he loves me and wants to talk to me, and wants to move down here, and is frantically looking for jobs.. says repeatedly he is sorry…how much i mean evertthing to him , and that those other women meant nothing..he is coming down here this week to gather furniture from his ex wife (divorce agreement stuff) and he is asking if I want it.. .. mind you, i have not responded to him at all. he does not seem violent, i am sure his ex wife or ex fiance would have warned me.. but i dont want a confrontation with my children.. i feel like he might show up here.. do I continue “no contact” or warn him to stay away, do not contact me or i will call the police?!??!I’m sure this man is a narcissist, but not sure sociopath? he was never really mean to me, just in his subtle ways, which were really damaging..

    • Hello Krisen.

      First, you are a strong brave woman, and clearly waking up! Congratulations, and I am glad your sons were the catalyst.

      Two, Yes I would say you found yourself a narcissist. Not that I can diagnose as I am not a medical professional. But the harem of women and the ability to make you feel, for a time, like the most special beautiful woman…only to never shower you with anything but bullshit, is classic.

      I would suggest you check with local authorities, but many times you must have communicated:

      Don’t ever contact me again.

      To begin the calculations that suggest harrassment. But every county is different (I am not a lawyer either)…I just have worked with these situations quite a bit.

      The trick is to not engage. Once you respond he thinks he has you back on the hook. He needs supply. He actually believes he can win you back…and that you believe his lies. STAND STRONG.

      All that said, I am however, so glad when a comment or inbox starts…I WAS WITH a…I am so glad you are out. Sadly, as you are discovering your story has a lot of classic touches to it…many overlapping with mine in fact. Big man, big business, big heart…and you are the greatest thing that ever happened to them, except they lie!

      And the move to NYC? A clear cut goal of isolation. And with children it makes it worse, because you give up what you were relying on for your self care before he entered the picture. When it comes to ruining holidays? They have the market cornered. In fact there is a little extra joy in it for them, the fact that they can take days that we all cherish and look forward to; and destroy them.

      Probably most importantly Kristen, and I can’t say it enough and I hope you hear me from the right space.



      He OBJECTIFIED YOU and your sons.

      Yes okay, maybe I was yelling a little bit! 🙂

      You kept saying he wasn’t mean. I deal with this so much. Why wasn’t he mean? Because he didn’t hit you? Instead he moved you with a promise he never intended to keep? Said he loved you will he was seeing other women? Denied you your right to speak freely about the man you “loved?” I could go on and on.

      To heal, we have to begin to understand what is MEAN. Redefine it. I don’t normally make a sales pitch on a response for someone to buy my book, but I am going to (link below). He was mean, being critical is mean. I want to emphasize this because we all need to release the idea of excusing away cruelty!

      In my book I talk about the pivotal moment when a new perspective was presented:

      After I had told my daughter when leaving one of my sociopaths,

      “He was a good man that did some bad things and he wasn’t safe for us to live with anymore”

      My therapist made me run home right that second and tell my daughter, that I thought I was telling her the truth, but I was wrong. Instead

      “He was a bad man that did some good things and he wasn’t safe for us to live with anymore”

      It took me so long to get that, but daughter got it that day. She was 7. Today she is a happily married mother at 28. We need to get that!

      Your sons need to know that it was mean to do what he did to you, to all of you! Playing with your lives. Treating you like objects, with no feelings! It is heart breaking. Help them see what is unacceptable. You tolerated the intolerable and I am so sorry that happened to you.

      You having to be a secret, all the woman of his past being “crazy.” Classic. They want to hide in the darkness and tagging or telling your story puts them in the light. A place they never want to be.

      I am sure you realize now how the patterns you describe are indeed normal and predictable. And they do not take accountability, so of course it is you that is too sensitive! Blame is part of their game. As I am reading, your story has so many parallels to mine! It is amazing how you can just change the names and see the similar stories…they are not that creative! I am so glad your sons were there and you knew they were worth protecting. Hopefully now you are clear that you are.

      I would call the local authorities, and ask if you have to tell him no contact to be able to take action. I can’t give you legal advice, but if you need help standing up, contact me.

      I do a free consultation if that would help, under no obligation to go further.

      I just want everyone to Live Freely. There are some links below and I have some things on youtube too to help educate people…just keep learning and finding your power. You deserve to be loved. It is mean to treat you with anything else.

      I delayed in approving this comment, as I wasn’t sure if you wanted it posted, so I had inboxed you the above reply. But I didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you, so given I did not get confirmation of your receipt upon my request, I felt it best to approve and post. I wish you well.

  11. To Kristen, you left me a long comment, but it was detailed and seemed to use your full name, so I did not want to approve your post, as I feared you might have thought it was an inbox. I am going to respond from Check your spam…I will be sending it shortly. I hope you get my email.

    • Hey
      I hope you don’t mind but have emailed you, just needed some outside perspective. If you would prefer me to put it here please let me know. It’s from a address.
      N x London ( England)

      • I did receive your email and the post above (which I did not approve to keep it off the wall), and which I have not yet had an opportunity to read. Emailing me is perfect, so no worries. Just to set expectations, I will not be able to read your emails until later tonight, but I will read them and I will get back to you later today, or clearly no later than tomorrow. I encourage you to check your spam box because I sadly often end up there. The email I will be writing you from is Also, I do a free no obligation consultation you might want to consider, but first let me read what you have to say and respond, and we will go from there.

      • Thanks Diana that’s perfect. Just hard to find someone who knows.
        It’s a bit complicated lol no rush x

  12. Great blog ! I was recently able to get out of a thankfully short relationship with a therapist. His personality definatly fits your description of a covert narcissist. He drew me in with his charm and steller image in the community. Therapy and involvement in church are his places of entrapping people. He is quite dangerous. Because of my experence in observing his efforts to convince me that I was attracted to him. I was able to see him for what he is. Just so people know, there is something called conversational hypnosis where one can be hypnotized without knowing it or remembering it. (Look it up) The only way I found out , by the grace of God, was I came out of the trance sooner than he realized and figured out what he was telling me. Sounds crazy right? Needless to say I cut off all contact narrowly dodging the bullet. Its just important that people know that these persons are often in helping fields. I know people where I live would not believe me. Glad I could tell my story here.

    • This particular situation ignites me even more than most, because this person, and people like him, hold themselves out as healers, helpers, those that wish to guide in a beneficial way for YOU, when it is nothing more than a guise, to benefit them. To lure in people that are on a quest for healing and violate them in this manner is the most appalling crime, because it preys on the vulnerable. Yes, true, all of us are victims/vulnerable when used as prey, but those that use a cover of service to lure them in with only the goal, a goal to harm, is inexplicable. I can’t find words. I am so relieved for you that your wisdom allowed you to remove yourself after only a “short” relationship…but I can’t help but sit and wonder, how many victims are there? Your words, were profoundly on target, “Because of my experience in observing his efforts to convince me that I was attracted to him.” YES, they look to mesmerize you into the feeling and belief that you are attracted to them! Well stated indeed! And if you look in some of my earlier responses I speak briefly of the hypnotic influence these individuals utilize. We ask ourselves, why are we so drawn? There is your answer. I would of course, like to see this person exposed. If I can help, let me know. Congratulations to you for having the wisdom to see through the facade, the disguise, the intent to harm. Thank you for sharing your story here.

  13. I am leaving a note hoping you will see this. I in
    boxed you Jeff. Check your spam if you don’t see my email. It will be from

  14. Thank you so much for this! It had been almost 3 years post-relationship, and I am still working so hard to be free. I have severe PTSD from my relationship and sociopath. I have a 5 year old son with this man, and he had started asking questions about why “he” left (when my son was almost 3). It has sparked so much for me. He never threatened outright to harm me, but even anything that sounds like a loadin gun makes me jump. I am also a mental health therapist, and still deal with a ton of guilt that I “should have known”. I am waiting everyday for him to return and what that will look like, and I am plauged to tears frequently STILL thinking this was my fault. I even feel guilty telling people he was a sociopath. It’s like after almost 5 years together, he is still inside my head haunting me. He stole thousands from me and my family, heavy drinker, gambler and sex addict. Things ended when I finally found out he was soliciting sex from women and men online.

    I want to be free of his ghost, but I sometimes see him in my son, and that scares me….I am just praying that this gets easier with time. Thank you do much for writing this!!

    • Jennifer, I just wrote you a long articulate response and it disappeared. I hope I can recapture some of it.
      There is that old saying that says something about not letting someone take up space in your head if they are not paying rent. Evict them, and that is what you need to do.

      You freed yourself but allow yourself to remain caged by thoughts of blame, guilt, shame and all the weapons he used against you. So he is in your life because you allow his energy, the fear he induced, the diminishing of your spirit to remain alive. This is now YOUR choice. Stop abusing yourself. You deserve love. You teach people how to treat you by how you treat yourself. If you child had been deceived would you diminish him, tell him how stupid he was, criticize him, or would you love him through it? We both know the answer, so begin being the best parent to yourself. Love yourself through it.

      You have to begin to love yourself fully. What made you are target in the first place was your ability to do. Likely a self confident person that is good at doing, and you used your doing to look to help, fix, serve him…and what he KNEW was you did not have the self-esteem to honor yourself in the process and he leveraged that to his advantage. Your self-esteem can only be restored by knowing how worthy you are for JUST being you. Not for what you do, but for WHO YOU ARE!

      If you choose to release him (he is gone, get rid of him, release your fear of WHAT might happen and enjoy what has happened!) and begin to heal, imagine the good you can do with all that you learned!? This phenomenon is so underserved, people are so in the dark and under informed and every day there are people killing themselves or literally going crazy because they do not know what is happening to them, but you do, you do know what is happening to them and you are a therapist! Rather than beat yourself up for not knowing, or seeing the truth, why not realize it is because the information is not emphasized in your schooling, the prevalence is not made known, and therefore people fall victim everyday and there is no one there to help! This is why I help people, because they are underserved, because awareness, although increasing, is not where it needs to be. People need the knowledge you have found, but until you can awaken the rest of the way through self-love and acceptance, you can’t do what perhaps is what you are supposed to do. Perhaps it is even why it happened?

      Turn your suffering into a gift to help others. Start to love yourself, forgive yourself. Their goal is deception and they succeeded. Don’t feel guilty for being tricked by someone who set out to trick you while you were offering LOVE. Instead awaken the rest of the way, which can’t happen until you release the hold he has on you, release the guilt (I give tips on how to do this in my book) through journaling and building yourself up. If you can’t do it for yourself right now, do it for your son. I understand it may scare you that you have a son with him, but so much of what I have read suggests Love can assure he will not have those traits, but even if that is wrong, once awake you will know what to do. Be loving, not afraid. Once awake you also will not fall victim to this ass if he returns. Your son deserves to have the strong mother that doesn’t let this evil man maintain a hold on her. You are free, except from your own thoughts…LOVE YOURSELF.

      I encourage you to go to You Tube and watch my videos and/or get my book.

      Please take care of you. This response is nothing like my other I hope it still hit the mark.

  15. I had my estranged husband pegged as malignant narcissist. Highly intelligent (PhD) and, in public, extremely charismatic and convincingly wholesome, gentle, empathetic and loving. People love him. At home, he was very verbally, emotionally and psychologically abusive; an alcoholic; had multiple secret affairs and ruled the home with unpredictable rage. He’s been an ordained minister for 25 years. He was my minister and counselling me, when he made romantic then sexual advances. We ‘fell in love’, had a sexual affair and later married. Even though it was his 4th marriage I was sure he was ‘the one’. .
    During our marriage he told me that, years ago, he became so furious at one of his estranged wives that he actually considered having her killed. He said he went to Detroit and looked into hiring a hit man but it cost more money than he had. He also told me about ways to secretly dispose of a dead body. My mind couldn’t grasp these things in context with him and discounted it all as untrue.
    I then discovered his pervasive enjoyment of movies depicting gory murders, hired killers and murder investigations – and his addiction to hard-core porn. When he wouldn’t admit his problems or go for counselling, I ended the marriage.
    His personal conduct is being investigated by the church and he’s in considerable debt. Having his ‘dark’ secrets exposed and possibly losing his job are cataclysmic events. I believe he’s capable of murder or murder-suicide. I’m scared because I know his anger and blame will fix on me.

    • Obviously if you are afraid then perhaps you need to at minimum go to a domestic violence shelter and seek guidance from the local folks in your area, and consider seeking a protection order, knowing of course that is just paper, but in some instances helpful paper…I do not know enough from this post and those decisions are best handled by those that would have to enforce it.

      I also know that they use threats of those kind of violence to keep us in line, mine assured me he had killed in the past, but that doesn’t mean he had. Of course I may never know for sure, but just like punching a wall is a way to say “I can do this to you” so is telling you they considered hiring a hit person a threat to you…I realize it also could very well be true. Your gut is your greatest informant. I would listen to it.

      I understand what you mean when you say our mind could not grasp this context, NOW you are awake and can see things more clearly.

      Can you use the larger investigation to potentially shield you? It sounds like all is about to be revealed, and your protection as a key witness could matter? Do those investigating know of your awareness and knowledge?

      I strongly suggest you get some legal advice to determine the best way to protect yourself from harm…it doesn’t sound like a good time to hide, it sound like a good time to get help locally and get the protection you deserve.

      I am sorry for your situation and your fears. I do offer a free consult if you wish to talk further, but either way you need to speak to the local authorities to know your best course of action.

  16. You have stated things more clearly than ANYTHING else I’ve read about narcissim. Thank you!

    So many other’s stories are so awful, I’ve been telling myself that I must be mistaken. Thanks to the distinctions made here I can see that I was definitely dealing with a narcissist and not just a selfish/self absorbed person. I am so glad I found this article today! It has helped me by leaps and bounds toward understanding and recovery! ❤

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. Just know that you were having a sane reaction to insane situation, and now, just take care of you and the rest will fall into place! I appreciate your sharing with me that my words had a positive impact for you!

  17. I have a mother who is a narcissist and a sister who tends more towards psychopathy. It afflicts the whole family really and we have payed and continue to pay a price for it.
    Thanks for helping me to understand what and why we have lived through.

    • I am sorry for your pain. Growing up in that environment has likely exhausted you in that you probably feel like you spent your whole life trying to get others to see the truth of who you are, believe you when you speak, and love you because you are you. And likely, time and time again, you weren’t believed and you didn’t receive love, and instead you received accusations and doubt. I hope that now you can see the affliction is theirs and you are who you know you to be, and to safely be that you must never look to receive anything that looks like validation from them. I hope this time and awareness continues to ignite your healing path. You do not need to be forever vigilant. Not everyone is what you have experienced.

  18. I married a narcissist/sociopath. She has separated from me this summer and I am just understanding what has happened. Your article was one of the best I have read and really ‘bang on’ in many cases. I feel horribly used and emotionally fragile. I loved and loved and was emasculated, intimidated, and controlled for years. I will grow from this and recover but my real fear is our children. If my research is even partially right the narcissist/sociopaths fuel is now coming from our children (or another man or both). We are fighting for custody and I want to limit her influence on them. I want to get her evaluated but she is very charming and slips out of bad situations often. She herself had a terrible upbringing and the cycle needs to be broken. I was the primary caregiver for the last five years (kids are 5 1/2 and 7) and after being under her care for the last 4 months (I was working in camp) they are out of control. I want to protect them as her poison is obviously in them. They deserve real love and nurturing not manipulation. Any suggestions?

    • You are correct, sadly. The children are now the pawns of the “game.” Your life was never a game, but for them they know no other way. I do think what happens next depends on which she is more heavily grounded in, but your thoughts about wanting to protect the children is the right focus. I did not have children with my sociopath, but I work with many people that have. It is a fine line, because you don’t want to be accused of parental alienation (pushing the children away from their mother), while also wanting them to learn to see manipulative behavior. It is a challenge, I find questions to be useful. “How does that make you feel?” “Do you think that was right? Why or why not?” Make them think. They will likely figure it out sooner rather than later. I know they are very young, but children know more and see more than we do in many instances. I hope you have your primary care well documented, you will need it. Your attorney, if you have one, needs to understand that this is not going to be typical in any way. Get any support you can for the care you have given, teachers, doctors, even friends. Also make sure your focus is on how and why you are best for the children…also hard, but less on why she is NOT, although you may have to go there. Have you asked your attorney if she/he can have an evaluation be part of the process? I know the risks here, but I have seen it come out with a diagnosis. Many people hire the investigator through the court to determine best parental arrangement, but again you have to be careful because they can do a number on making you look like a million things you are not, and present themselves as the ideal parent. Documentation is your friend, and try not to get triggered, as she is documenting and likely has been long before it occurred to you to do it.

      Relative to you own suffering, you need to restore yourself self-esteem. You might want to get my book on Amazon (Me and My Shadow)…it is guide from beginning to end, why we chose these relationships, how to get out of it, and how to heal. Don’t be hard on yourself now. Be loving. Take all that love you gave outwardly and turn it inward for yourself, you deserve it. I do offer a free consultation. You can inbox me if you would like one, and be sure to check your spam as sometimes my reply ends up there. Good luck to you. At least you are moving away from it…

      You may have to not play fair to win. But the pricetag, your children, makes whatever is required (short of harming of course) acceptable…the harm that comes to children through these situations is very challenging.

  19. I agree this article is amazing to define the differences. Thank you. I am not the partner or child victim of a narcissist, but my life is impacted none-the-less. My youngest son has, I believe, married a girl who fits this profile. Since I am on the outside, I am not sure which she truly is, but I am assured that she is one or the other. Before they married, we had a wonderful relationship with our son. I liked her although we were not close. We did not object even though they were so young. 18/19. Things were so good that they agreed to start a family business with me. That changed quickly after the vows.

    My daughter-in-law has now demanded my son have no contact with our side of the family. She refused to work while my son had 3 jobs. They walked out on our family business, leaving me deeply in debt and owing $30,000 in upcoming rent. They said I was toxic. (I had always been punished if I did not take the business advice of my 18 year old daughter-in-law) When they became pregnant, they announced it to the whole world, but blocked us from knowing on Facebook. Even their peers tell us she is controlling him. I could write a book of all the narcissistic behaviors I have seen.

    What’s a mom to do? Because of her, my son has rejected me. I can’t just walk away from him and my first grandchild, who will be born in January. Any advice for a broken hearted mom? I have a wonderful relationship with both of my older sons, but I can’t forget my youngest.

    • Thank you for your comments about my observations about the differences, I hope it helps you decipher the chaos that exists when those with these traits are around.
      It is understandable you liked her, as the hook does not get set until the knot is tied…they have to make the escape route hard, and that becomes easier once there are marriage vows. Sad story indeed.

      I have had the experience of having a business with these individuals, and they are, as I always say, like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree. Of course I don’t understand any dynamics of your business, but I do believe business is business, which means sometimes it is best you handle things precisely as such. I can’t of course give you legal advice, I am simply telling you what I chose to do…bad behavior should not get exceptions because it is “family.” So if your circumstance was with another business partner, how would you handle it? Do that. I brought charges against my step children, and they awakened ultimately to the truth about their dad, and apologized to me. I didn’t do it for that, I did it because it was the right thing to do. (I loaned them money for school/car and they stopped paying me when I decided to leave their dad)

      In your words you said “They” said, so your son is obviously under her spell. He will not awaken until he is ready, no one does, so you can likely not awaken him with truth, communicating with him, trying to get him to see. In fact his mother may be the one least equipped to be heard especially being these types of individuals are so good at alienating the family, suggesting of course, often, a hidden agenda on your part that he might be persuaded to believe…they will define behaviors claiming you are doing when in fact, it truly instead depicts their own behavior.

      I am sorry that you have been precluded from the joyful experience of a new child being born. Sadly, it is the ultimate in the relational tie…trapping your son for life if he doesn’t begin to see. A child is the strongest pawn, and of course that is the saddest story.

      I am always an advocate of truth. Be clear how much you love your son, and say, only once, what you see and believe, then tell him you will not bring it up again, that you love him, and that you will always be there for him. The reason this is important, is someday he may awaken, and he must have no fear of “I told you so” he must know he will be loved through anything that happens. Truly, the power of these people to control the mind and blind us is more powerful than may seem possible, your son’s heart is both his gift and his curse. Take whatever action stands in truth, never in vengeance or lessons…and in truth hopefully the lessons will be revealed from the right place, Love.

      I feel for you, I am a big believer in one liners (my book discusses this). So when your son is in his asleep state and saying painful things, try and say things like “I know this is how you see it, but is not truth and I love you.” I don’t know how well I am communicating this, my message is, don’t hide. Be Transparent, but don’t fault him for “sleeping.” Everyone awakens in their own time. As you know, I am not a therapist. These are just my thoughts, I hope they help.

      Tiptoeing likely won’t serve you. Even though at first alienation may happen faster…in the end, being bold and truthful I believe is the win, and preserves the possibility for you to get your son and grandchild back.

      • Thank you Diana. It is evident that you do understand, and it comforts me to know that someone out there does. I have not challenged their no contact which started last May. I left all doors open, though. I simply told him that I saw some things about their relationship that scared me, but that I will always be here for him. (I had no idea what NPD was then) Now I ask, should I send a baby gift? The only way I know to reach them would be by leaving it on her mother’s doorstep. Or should I buy cards/momentos and keep them with me until the day that I would one day meet my grandson?

      • I think there should be nothing that would not lead you to do what is in your heart for the child. The child shouldn’t suffer for the parent’s ignorance. They may return the gifts, destroy them, never deliver them. BUT you will always know the truth. Of course at some point it may be fruitless, but I would encourage love at all times for the child. Good luck Lisa…it is a sad reality. I wish you well. And I would not necessarily say to not challenge the no contact is ideal…not that I would fight at this time (I might recommend invoking your rights as grandma however), but to say what you desire, to speak to your son of your sadness/discomfort may have some value. As I said to me it is good~at least once. I am glad you felt understood.

  20. I am beside myself right now! After 2 years of the back and forth game and always feeling like I was to blame for our failed relationship. I finally swam away and stopped myself from drowning. After reading this I now truly believe my ex has major issues and no matter how much I love her, I have to realize I can’t continue to live in chaos. This relationship has emotionally and physically exhausted me beyond belief. Not only does she fit the characteristics of both a sociopath and a narcissistic person, she also can be physically abusive during one of her explosive moments. I just couldn’t stay in this roller coaster ride anymore. I thank God for the strength to move on. Ur shared experience has really helped me understand and I thank you for that. For the first time I don’t feel like my failed relationship was all my fault. Thank you.

    • I am so glad that you allowed yourself to be set free from your suffering. They are masterful at making it feel like it is our fault and we are to blame. That is simply a strategy and has no basis in truth. I am glad this blog helped reaffirm what you believe in. Remember what you deserve moving forward. This kind of suffering is a choice, something we have the power to say no to! Congrats on getting free.

  21. Brilliant! Thank you

    • You are so welcome! I am glad it helped you:)!

    • I’ve always said that no matter how well trained a therapist is, they can never understand fully until they have been there. You definitely know your stuff.

      • Thank you so much for your comment. Experience can not be replaced by a text book!

  22. Is my ex a narcissist or sociopath? He has to be something besides a jerk. Met him back in 2008. He had me convinced that he loved me, but he had problems…just waiting for his big break. He had no money so somehow I ended up lending him thousands of dollars that first year, buying a truck for him (he never made one payment) and I ended up getting pregnant. I am thrilled. At 38 I wanted a baby. He didn’t live with me, but was living with a female “roommate” that wanted to be with him but he to whom he had made clear they were just roommates. Yeah right. She found out about me and moved back home with her parents. He moves in with a friend of his (he didn’t want to live with me). She had the vehicle they shared so that is why I helped him buy the truck. I find out he is still seeing her behind my back. He constantly lied to me. I don’t know why I stayed with him…probably because I was pregnant. Or just really believed his lies. He continually used me, used her, slept with other women. His ex roommate and I talked. She said that was him….he always did her that way. He had NO contact with his other 3 kids, yet he said it was because it was too painful…that he couldn’t see them when he wanted and that he was just a paycheck. So it was easier to just cut them off. His credit and financial problems were always because of his ex. He could never get a break business-wise either. He was quick to anger at whomever “did him wrong.” I hated going to restaurants, doctor visits, etc…because he always managed to embarrass me with this aggressiveness.

    I lost the baby when I was 6 months pregnant. He asked me what I did to cause this. He disappeared completely after the funeral and refused to be there with me and would only answer calls at certain times… Otherwise he was unavailable. He was with his ex still. I got ahold of her and she told me he said losing the baby was probably for the best.

    I took the truck I paid for away from him. He threatened me and then blamed me for his financial situation because he could not fulfill his jobs he had lined up. I am sure that was a lie.

    I really don’t know why I stuck with him through this love triangle, but I did. He led me on and used me for over another year and I let it happen, hoping and praying one day he would realize he wanted me and would change. Finally I dumped him in September of 2010. For 6 months I received emails and texts of how he really loved me and realized how wrong he had been and that I was “the one” for him.

    Finally in May 2011, I caved. He moved out of the ex’s house (unbeknownst to her)(yes, he had moved back in with her because he lost his apartment). He just up and left her place one day and moved into mine. I truly believed this was it! I was so happy. However, about 2 weeks after he moved in I started questioning why I did this.

    He began being very controlling. Accused me of talking to men on the phone. I couldn’t stop anywhere after work or he would be upset. It was always something.

    To make a longer story a little shorter, we ended up having a baby in May 2012. A month after I noticed even a worse change in him. He was really believing all I did was talk to men on the internet all day while on maternity leave. He was actually working for once and was not there. I finally was so nervous I didn’t get on the computer.

    Then he criticized the way I took care of our son. I held him too much and was going to make him into a sissy faggot. His words, not mine. Both of my brothers are gay and his words were very offensive. He became more aggressive and was upset when our son would not stop crying for him. One night he would not let me have our son and told our 2 month old that he was gonna learn. He shoved me when I tried to pick up the baby and refused to give him to me. He yelled at the baby after he wouldn’t stop crying. I was terrified. Finally he stopped crying. I packed my bags and was going to sneak out in the morning until it started all over again. I called the sherriff.

    We split up. I was fearful. But he started anger management and a few months later charmed his way back in and admitted he had been wrong. Even though he thought I over-reacted, mostly.

    The cheating accusations started again. I got tired of constantly trying to prove to him I was not. We went to two counseling sessions which were a joke. One of my ex’s excuses was that he was not good at communicating. But, the counselor expressed he thought he was very good at communicating. That ALWAYS has stuck with me. It was his choice…he was perfectly capable of good communication. He blamed all the women before him that cheated on him and that they made him like this. I never gave him a reason! He knew I was devoted. We quit going because he knew the counselor was just going to blame him.

    I did not get much sleep…it was always my faulty the baby didn’t want to sleep in his own bed. I was so sleep deprived. He didn’t work and watched baby during the day. I saw he was pretty good with him overall. But as soon as I got home from work it was my duty the rest of the night so he could play video games. I was so miserable.

    I kept a diary. He read it. I could not be at peace. It was a roller coaster ride and I spent much of my time trying to keep him on the high end. He rarely yelled or called me names. He liked the silent treatment or was just moody. I could NEVER give him enough sex. 3-4 times a week was a lot for me considering I was so tired. He claimed it was never that much and punished me with his moodiness. He would say he just wanted to hold me yet when he did and I started to fall asleep in his arms he would get up and say “what’s the point” and go down to play videos.

    To FINALLY wrap up this terribly long story. I kicked him out in July 2014. However, I am still being abused. He makes it all about our son, but it is not. It is about trying to get me back. He manipulates, threatens, etc. I am about ready to have a nervous breakdown. I let him see our son ALOT and he pays no child support, usually brings him back early, yet wont ever work out any visits or tell me what he wants! Unreal. He just bullies me and then is decent and then bullies me again. I finally am going to see an attorney next week. He is obsessed that I am with other men. I am definitely not because I cannot even stand the thought of subjecting myself to anything like this again!!!! But to convince him? forget it. I don’t know what to do.
    Thanks for listening. I pretty much have it narrowed down to a narc or soc…but I guess it doesn’t really matter. He is just plain TOXIC. I just want to be free of this crap.
    I am sorry this is so long.
    Trying to be strong….LJ

    • Your last sentence says it all. TOXIC. I am not qualified to diagnose, but I vote sociopath. He is not paying child support, so can you check with your attorney if you can get full custody? Bottom line, once an asshole always an asshole. It is okay to be mad at yourself for a little while, express your anger in a journal or somehow, and then move through. The bottom line is they do get their targets “under a spell” and even though every logical bone in your body knows you should get the hell out, they have a persuasive way of making you think they are really going to change this time. SO, while you might be hard on yourself, know that they do a really good job at what they do…charming you. Given you would never deceive like that it is hard to consider that they are just liars. But they are, and always will be. He has proven to you over and over that he will go back on his word…and he will not be loyal or genuine with you. You need to surround yourself with people who have values similar to yours. You sound intelligent, capable, responsible…so leave the loser for good! I know it is hard to take care of a child on your own, but the drain of your interactions with him could over time be worse. He only wants ONE THING (going with what I am hearing in your words)..CONTROL I don’t mean this to hurt you, but he doesn’t “want YOU BACK” he wants to CONTROL YOU. The less interaction the better. If you are going to maintain shared custody, discuss with your atty if there can be an intermediary for contact and for exchanges with low cost, or that he can be forced to pay. The child is simply a pawn in his game…at least if he is in fact a sociopath.

      Everything you are saying is so classic. I encourage you to get my book (Me and My Shadow on Amazon), if you remove the pregnancies from the stories, it sounds like you are living the life I was living. You can be free. And it is okay to admit you can’t be strong and you need help. You do need help. This is very hard. You are not over reacting. You are having a sane reaction to insane situation. Really focus on you and your well-being. The care and feeding of your body. Don’t let this idiot drag you down. You are strong…now find your way by realizing that you cannot fix this, you just have to save yourself and your child. You deserve love and I promise you, it is out there…first you have to decide what YOU are worthy of so you can create the life you want.

      • Thank you! I did see an attorney. Her advice was same as yours basically….get a no contact order and then have an intermediary for visitation with our son. She told me to take his threats very seriously. I do at times, but overall, am just hoping he is just blowing smoke and is too much of a coward to really follow through. I wish I really knew. Her number one recommendation: Leave the state and don’t come back. Very hard for me to do, but maybe worth considering. Thanks again and I will get your book. I have been reading everything I can to help me.

      • Awesome! I am so glad you spoke to an attorney who “gets it!” That is not always the case. I do hate to see people run (move), but you do have to do what is in your best interest and the protection of your child. How would visitation be handled then? Hopefully you can just get the custody and stay away forever. Take care of you and so appreciate your updating me. I hope my book helps:) Always remember to take care of you.

  23. After reading my story, I realize I just sound like a pathetic person. Why would someone put up with this? There were good times too…but I was really just stupid and now I am trying to change all of that for my son’s sake. I will never let him be subjected to an abusive home again. He is only 2. The abuse I suffered was so subtle, yet I always felt threatened & controlled. My ex NEVER had any compassion or empathy for me. He would just say “you know my issues,” when it came time to try to work something out. My fear is if I don’t stop the stuff going on now that my son will really be affected even though I am not with my ex, I am still being abused and my son is so smart I am sure he figures out something is wrong. I almost ready to move across the country! Thanks again for listening.

    • Sorry, I didn’t realize there was more. YOU are NOT PATHETIC! You unfortunately simply hooked up with someone who was. I guess I read your posts last to first! LOL. No one that has not been through this can understand. And everyone that has been through it can. There is NOTHING wrong with you. And your perspective was so much like mine was. You forgot to include yourself in the compassion formula. You cared so much about saving him, you forgot about yourself. It is not too late to change that!

  24. Thank you so much for writing this. I am in the middle of a custody battle with a sociopath. Do you think they know that they’re crazy?

    • Sorry to be getting back to you so late. I am not a doctor, but in my opinion, they do not think they are crazy. They think everyone has the same calculating mind. They are playing chess, in essence. They are in a game, and the game is about them winning. They do not comprehend that their opponents do not think like them. Sad indeed. My advice is, don’t worry about what they think. Just surround yourself in love rather than the bullshit you get in these types of relationships. Awareness is key to a happy life. If you are in a custody battle, you will likely need help. You can contact me for a free no obligation consult if you would like. You also need an attorney that gets it. The stakes are too high to have someone who is thinking logically.

  25. This was a very eye opening site! I was involved with a Narcississt or a sociopath for FIVE years. I was literally swept off my feet on the first meeting. I was married, although not happily, and I was shopping in his antique store. Within thirty minutes he had ascertained I was married, but not happy. He was THE most charming man I have ever met!! I returned again in a week to sell him a table.,it went from there to him wanting me to work for him, to us meeting every week for lunch. In three months time, after no more than 12 or so lunches, he was asking me to divorce and move in with him and telling me how fabulous I was. He said we were getting married as soon as I was divorced!! I knew it was wrong, I wrote him I couldn’t do this but he sent me a 25 page letter saying how he waited his whole life for me, we were meant to be together, on and on.,I actually said he was my ” soulmate”! Of course things were good for a couple of months, then he started flirting with every attractive woman who came in the store and I was working there and seeing it all. I became so upset because he never mentioned marriage again and I was feeling very unsure of him by now. I ask him not to act this way with the customers, he told me I just didn’t understand business. He wanted them to like him and to come back!! He began saying I was jealous, I had a bad temper and I was just so insecure!! Nothing I did was right except in bed! He began saying we should have just dated after I got divorced and that now I should move out and get my own place and stand on my own two feet. I was 61 and gave up my home, my hometown, most of my financial security for him. He promised to take care of me, even said my Mother could live with us if need be and he would look after her as well. He is financially well off but now I worked for him and had no other income. I finally was told he was moving out and I could either move somewhere else or stay there. I couldn’t afford to live there, I would not be working for him anymore so I had to take my social security early and move into a girlfriends bedroom for nine months. Four days after this horrific ordeal he called and says he is sorry and he wants me to come back. I agreed to meet him for dinner and he said he loved me and wanted me back.,I said we needed to get engaged and THEN I would come back. He bought me a ring but took it back three months later after we had a brief argument. We continued to date for seven more months. I bought my rental house back that I had gotten in my divorce and SOLD because he told me we were never going back to that town. Anyway, things seemed to be better,,then out of the blue he called and said he couldn’t see me for a week because his sister was in town. That was the last I saw of him for three years. He went back to his girlfriend of 20 years!!! He denied it at first, then said I MADE HIM GO,BACK BEXAUSE I didn’t love him! He never felt bad at all about what I had given up for him. He continued to call and text and see me every two,or three weeks for sex and always saying he didn’t love this woman but she was so giving and kind to him. He ate dinner every night with her, she cooked for him, went to Pottery Shows with him and all the time he was still calling me and coming over. I took this for all this time. I KNEW it was sick, I felt used, but I couldn’t stop. I loved him and he always convinced me we would be together but that I needed to change and show him I loved him!!! Five months ago he calls and says he BROKE UP” with her and he wants to see me. He comes down and he tells me he loves me and we need to start over.,I thought we were in love and finally going to get married! No, he says we should date now and just have fun. He says life is all about having fun! I finally see he is never marrying me, I tried to talk about a future and he won’t discuss it. He keeps saying how nice my home is now and in a few years when my shrubbery is grown up the neighbors home will be blocked and it will be perfect for me!! He is always commenting on other women, always telling me things that are wrong about my clothes, my friends, my apperance. I am an attractive person, I know it’s not true but it is SO hurtful. I now think about how I look all the time, he tells me I don’t call him enough during the day at his store so I don’t show him I love him. He always says I don’t make him feel loved. The list is endless about what all I do wrong. He wants to know where I am all the time yet when I ask if he calls the former girlfriend he says no, but I know for a fact he does. I confront him and he dances around it and lies until I point out that her friends told me he called her. Then he says he will always be friends with her. She has taken him back on many occasions after he has has other affairs with women. I know she will takee him back AGAIN. THREE DAYS AGO I ended it AGAIN. I have tried MANY times to end it but I can’t seem to stay away. I keep remembering how charming and wonderful he was in the beginning and I gave up everything for him and I want it to work, plus I keep thinking I love him. I know he is sick, I have made up my mind this time that I will NOT talk to him again. This is so hard though, but I am determined. He literally has wrecked my life. I feel like I can’t make a decision anymore, my friends hate him and are shocked when I keep going back!!! What is wrong with me and why can’t I stay away? I know he is toxic to me and he is either a sociopath or a narcississt. It helps to read these other people’s stories but I feel so weak now. I know I am not the horrible person he tells me I am yet I keep trying to show him he is wrong!! HELP!!

    • Yes, the wonderful honeymoon phase, swept off your feet. All going as planned and calculated. And all you have to do is give up everything. They truly are good at setting the stage, yet they all do it the same way! And you knew it was wrong…that is really the point. INSIDE we know and we need to TRUST that knowing. What you saw relative to interactions was reality, and he denied it and made you bad, classic. I don’t know if you read my book but I explain how they look to isolate and then devastate you financially, make you fully reliant on them. They want you to have no where to turn, be alone and broke, and then when you finally do pull some pieces of your shattered life together they come back into to sabotage you again. I am so sorry for your pain and your loss. To say you didn’t love him well enough is also classic. You deserve so much better than him. He is/was using the other woman just as he used you. I know you know this.

      Remember that charming means “charmed under a spell” the pull is so great because it is like being under a spell! It is like an addiction. You have to go cold turkey! You do not LOVE HIM! You love the illusion he presented! That is way different. No one who loves you would treat you this way. You are not the horrible person he says you are…you are correct about that.

      A few ideas, one, go to you tube and type in my name. Watch my videos if you haven’t already. (here is the link to one of them if that makes it easier Consider getting my book on Amazon which is a guide to freedom and healing from these types of relationships (Me and My Shadow. Here is the link.…also you may want to watch this video…kind of gets the point out there too. This video is Tony Gaskins, another author.

      This is all about remembering how worthy your are. Also note I do a no obligation free consultation. If you want to do that, inbox me and we will schedule something. You can free yourself from this!

  26. Oh my! I was raised by a narcissistic father and then married a sociopath. What a nightmare my life has been. I have managed to get away from them both but not without great loss. Between the two of them, I lost my health, my job, my reputation, my home, my finances, car, extended family and almost my children. You are right! My narcissistic father being the worst of the two. I am free now, but it took me twenty years and writing a book to recover. The worst part about it is they caused my kind caring (on the Dean’s list) son to have a mental break that has landed him in the psychiatric ward five times and diagnosed with schizophrenia from the severe emotional trauma they caused him. My father tried to buy my son away from me and trashed me to him since he was a little boy. I did not know this as I never bad mouthed my ex or my father to my children. I tried to take the high road believing they would do the same. Boy, was I wrong! I am now 53 years old and still can hardly comprehend it all, probably never will. Diana, I thought your article is one of the best I’ve read. It really explains what is so hard to put into words. Thank you.

    • Wow Kate, I am so sorry for what you have been through and that you were unaware of what you were confronting for all those years. Their patterns are so predictable that it is amazing to me that there isn’t more available to educate all of society on this reality. So many people are seeking help, when THEY are not the problem, they are living with the problem! It is devastating to hear about your son and the anguish you have both been through due to the harm those that were supposed to love him caused. I am so glad you are free and I truly hope that healing comes to you and your son. I don’t know that we can ever comprehend such cruelty, but we can release ourselves from the damage that it has done and go on to do what we can to live a happy life. I too wrote a book on the topic:) I am glad writing offered healing to you as well. And thank you for your positive feedback on my post!

  27. I love that . . . “So many people are seeking help, when THEY are not the problem, they are living with the problem!” So true!
    I do wonder your thoughts on something. My father, I’m told, does break down in tears quite often out of the blue. I have also seen this in the past. He is a true narcissist by every definition of the word. What do you suppose causes these outbursts? In his later years, could he possibly be feeling some remorse for all the people he’s hurt? Or, is it because he lost control of me, or could he possibly miss me? I doubt it, he seems to have such hatred toward me for not conforming. This is something I wonder about because, I’ve never known him to have much of a conscience about anything. It probably has nothing to do with me, just wishful thinking. I guess deep down, we will always have some sort of hope.

    • I can’t know the truth about your dad, but I feel comfortable saying you don’t grow out of sociopathy or narcissism. I will say, in my experience they cry at will. It is a tool they have learned to mimic quite well. I believe if you are conscienceless you are conscienceless and you don’t suddenly get one…although you could fake it pretty well. I don’t want to hurt you or crush your hope, yet I often say hope is the weapon of destruction. It keeps us hanging on with the belief of “maybe now?” Yet, look back over your life…hasn’t that hope always been there? But has it ever prevailed? I say don’t analyze him, go surround yourself in love.

  28. Excellent article. I have been studying these two disorders for several years – first professionally, then personally as I realized that I had inv olved my self with a sociopath. Yes, I have the dubious distinction of having been married to a narcissist for 22 yrs, and after the divorce getting involved with the sociopath! Your comparisons are spot on and a valuable source of subtleties of trait, charcteristic and differences in motivation. The narcissist was oblivious to everything except he was ‘the good one’ and nearly ‘savior-like’ and the sociopath was cruel and calculated in a way that I have never come across in another human being before. It was chilling and he was clearly more classically abusive. The problem was, I couldnt believe he was doing what he was doing. Now, I am cynical and don’t trust anyone!

    I am left feeling better off alone, at least it is quiet and peaceful, but emotionally desolate. All the years of cognitive dissonance and believing it was me have taken their toll on me mind, body, and soul. Worse, my sons, now adults have either inherited genetics, or picked up patterns of behavior, as well as having taken their own unfair share of total, complete abandonment from their father when he found his new source and she felt they didnt fit in the picture. At times, I feel like a hollow shell the wind blows through. I have been in therapy, put the kids willing to go, into therapy, and after one of my son’s multiple, deadly suicide attempts, went on medication. By outside standards I am successful, professional, strong and independent, but I feel bankrupt and so damaged. I can’t bear the thought of trying to connect emotionally with a man again. Ive only had these two relationships. I am 41 yrs old. I had to go on medication because of crying spells that once started, I couldnt stop. I needed to be able to function and work, but feel as if I am justifiably grieving. There has been so much pain. It is hard for me to share hope with my sons who struggle, when I feel so barren, swept clean, and empty. My thoughts a tangled mess. Nobody in mental health or my personal life gets it. The fall out. The ptsd. I am surviving, not thriving.

    These people are spiritual vampires. They feed off of other people’s life essence, their souls. One is oblivious and incapable of seeing. That alone drives the partner crazy. The other sees and just doesnt give a damn and then USES that as free license to use you however they see fit. Beware of the cognitive dissonance and LISTEN to it. People treat you the way you allow them to. Don’t put up with it for 24 yrs like I did. Not for the kids. Not for your faith. It isnt worth it. It isnt worth the warping of your mind, or the decay it causes your soul. and you still end up losing everything you are trying to save in the end. Sorry this is so negative. Its really not, because for all that ~I am out. I am free, free to rebuild. And now, I get it.

    • I do not see this as negative, I see it as fact based. The experience you outlined about how different each was, purely resonated as my truth as well, your depiction does indeed sound like mine. I know the devastating blows and the emptiness after. It is like having lived in a tornado, without realizing it and then find yourself devastated as you see the destruction in the aftermath. PLEASE consider that right now, after years of the abuse you endured, confusion, blame and so on, you don’t trust. BUT that is a by-product of not feeling you can trust yourself. I promise you, once you can trust yourself again, which will occur when you keep looking INSIDE not outside, you will be able to trust and love, the true kind will be finally available to you! I am sorry about your children and the struggles…and you can only do what you can only do. The best way to help is to build a happy life with lots of love. Try to detach from the happenings in the lives of your abusers and focus on the happenings in your own. I encourage you to read my book…it is a guide to healing. The healing part starts on page 173, before that, depicts why we chose it. I too, as you gathered, had the repeated pattern of choosing abusive situations, but today I am happy and only have healthy relationships. It is possible, don’t give up. I am 53 and have arrived! I also do a free no obligation phone consult if that would help you. Whatever you do, focus on you. YOU deserve a happy life and it is possible. Thank you for your kind words about my article…I am glad you are out and free…now work to release, as you said, and rebuild. When you build, know how much love you deserve.

  29. Those that haven’t been exposed or have an understanding of the capabilities of a person like this will never understand it. When you have realized what they are they aren’t as strong or smart as they appear when their mask falls especially if it means them hiding behind your own family and friends to make you appear the bad one. Personal information and even just a bunch of lies, personal heart aches, personal struggles and issues with certain people will all be used against you to make them appear the model citizen for fear of people really seeing them for who they are. They have their band supporters/minions to hide behind to boost the ego and to harass and bully to syphon information to take back. Judging without really knowing you, make you to appear something you’re not, belittle you by going to depths of the barrel to save themselves from appearing a bully – which is all they really are. The lack of warmth or emotion behind the blackness of empty eyes, the evil stares and the intimidating tactics used to install fear so you crumble are all tactics to keep them in control and you in fear. Stalking, harassing after months and months after it is finished, using other people to meet you, ask questions, set you up are just as naive and ignorant as the one behind the whole scheme. Give them an inch and they take a mile.
    Their lack of awareness for others is a major red flag if you can and are able to read it and pick up on it. Their own selfishness and their own needs without the thought for others can be recognized through certain aspects of their verbal and non verbal language. Even when I have been approached by others as a means of a set up they have given themselves away on the spot. They don’t even realize it. If your gut is telling you something is wrong always listen to it. I have a high intuition and can feel bad vibes just by the way someone has asked me something or just a look. It’s being very aware of all the tell tale signs and with these types of people they can’t hide it. Even if they try it is impossible for them to hide it if you are able to read the signs.

    • I agree with your every word. And really want to emphasize the power of that intuitive knowing. Trusting it can make all the difference! It is true, there are bad people, accept that feeling that someone might be one!

  30. Wow, awesome read and so true. I married a sociopath with narcisstic qualities too. A piece of work. The best way I can describe him is he must have been raised by ravenous Wolves, literally. I am now separated and like your article stated, I torment myself on how in the world did I miss the signs when the mask would slide off, how could I have been so delusional? I would constantly struggle throughout my marriage with the question of “does he love me?” I had to face the horrible reality after years of emotional abuse turned medical abuse when he refused to take me to the emergency room when I told him that I thought I was having a heartattack, that NO, he doesn’t love me and he never did. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me for a long time why he kept pressuring me to have a child, but he treated me like “do do.” Then it hit me a few months before our separation, he married me because he thought he could “control me,” and having a child with me would just be another opportunity to toy with my soul. I thank God continuously that I did not cocreate with a human monster! Hallelujah and thank you Jesus! I didn’t like the way he treated his own birth son that I helped him raise for 7 years, and then he discards me and doesn’t let me be apart of the child’s life. It’s so much I can say! This article is spot on from what I experience in my dysfunctional marriage! All I can say is No more !

    • I am so glad you are heading out and did not succumb to having a child. You sound like you are now fully awake…the aftermath can be tough too. Be gentle with yourself. You might want to read my book…it takes you through to the healing. And I think you will recognize my previous life! Be hopeful about your future. The worst is over. I am sorry about losing contact with the son, but in the end, it is safest. It is difficult but safest. You need to disconnect completely and set yourself permanently free from abuse. You knew all along, trust that knowing moving forward. When it is real love you never have to ask, “Does he Love me?” It is so apparent you can’t miss it.

      I wish you well on your journey away from that life and thank you for your feedback on my blog!

      • Wow, thank you for your great insight! I will get your book to help me on my journey of healing and recovery. Your insight is spot on, and your advice is so truthful, though it may not be what we want to hear, it’s what we need to know if we desire to be healthy again. Yes, having to lose contact with the son (was painful), but God has given me a peace about it. I loved and cherished him as much as I could when he was in my life. But honestly, with his father being who he is, I couldn’t see the possibility of having a peaceful relationship with his son. For now, I will keep him in my prayers, and hope he grows up to be healthy (it will take a miracle). If he is able to escape the negative pattern of his father, I am definitely open to having a relationship with the son even if it doesn’t happen until he is older or an adult.

      • I agree with your decision. I had to make that decision as well. It isn’t easy but it is best given the circumstances. I truly hope my book helps you through! Take care of you!

  31. […] A Very Detailed Look at the Distinguishing Differences Between a Sociopath and a Narcissist; from My…. […]

  32. Great info and very interesting. Iv just recently finally seen the light after 20 yrs of mental and emotional hell and am still tryin to come to terms with the fact that iv wasted so much time. And even though I’d think he was terrible most of the time I did believe he loved me in some way. Now to realise he was out to ruin me from the beginning , it all starts making sense and is a painful slap of reality. Have been reading as much info as I can find to try understand this whole thing but honestly wasn’t aware that there was a difference between a narcissist and a sociopath until reading your article. I now know the souless being iv wasted so much of my life on and unfortunately the father of my child is 100% sociopath!

    • Thank you for your thoughts and feedback about my article. I know waking up to such a harsh reality is very painful. That said, it is also powerful to put understanding and clarity to all the confusion. Now you know what you are contending with. Once you know you can handle things vastly differently and recover an upper hand. It is very difficult when there are children involved, remember though, to the sociopath, no matter what contrary illusion might be presented, the child is just a pawn in the game designed to destroy you…so keep your eyes open and get your “Columbo” on…the detective from ages ago. No more being articulate and knowing, now you must seem vague and confused while being very knowing. 20 years is a long time. There is work to be done…stand strong! Consider getting my book if you haven’t, and if you need a free consult let me know. The book is Me and My Shadow on amazon and my email is Good luck to you!

  33. Hi , would just like to say your words are making understand what went on in my relationship a lot better , thank you x

    I am still a little unsure though if my ex is a sociopath or narcissists or maybe both ???

    We started dating everything was great he was so loving caring kind and he wanted me I couldn’t believe my luck . After a month he was going away with work for three months and said should we put a hold on us till I get back as I am falling for you but I have issues with myself which I know will come between us , I couldn’t make sense of it but we talked and we stayed together decided we will see what happens . He told me he had cheated on his wife so this made me a little suspicious and with him being away but he had told me he was devastated what he done to her and all the destruction and pain he caused her but said she was quite volatile always put him down and this is what caused his infidelity as they stared drifting but also said I know its no excuse. He seemed in turmoil over it all . Things were a little up and down as I missed him but he came home some weekends and he was still sending me lovely messages and ringing everyday saying he couldn’t wait to see me , but something was still niggling me I don’t no what ?

    Xmas came we had been together 3 months he was home but didn’t see him much as he had a lot of work on trying to finish his house Xmas shopping ect and I work funny shifts. Xmas eve I asked him was he seeing someone else I thought he was going to start crying it was the sadess faces ever I felt so guilty I said this , after that things seemed different but still sending nice messages but making excuses for not seeing me then sent me a message saying I think we should split up as I’ve been the doctors and I have depression , we talked it ended but he said when am feeling bit better I hope we can see one another again , I said yes I felt so sad for him said he just needed to be on his own right now. I was gutted!

    Few weeks later I text him and he seemed so happy to hear from me saying he missed me talking about coming to see the house as it was coming along great . We got back together it was amazing my life was falling into place ,once the house was done we were going to rent it and my apt get somewhere in the middle of our families we talked of marriage we started trying for a baby his decision but I wanted a baby so much . I was head over heels and I actually thought he loved me more .

    After bout 3 months I started noticing a little distant but he was working on the house a lot and my shifts are all over the place but noticed he was on his phone a lot changing dates with us I started questioning him again he didn’t like it , we would argue he would sulk I asked what are you hiding , again the sad face next day text saying think we need time apart to sort out were this is heading he went to Spain to visit his dad and he said I don’t think we should have any contact for the time am away at least. I texted him when he it home we talked again and stayed together but my doubts were there as he was still on his phone all the time wouldn’t leave me with it, I would log onto watsapp and he would be on it always even in the loo. We argued a lot then, i thought I was losing my mind and being paranoid as it always got turned onto me . Anyway got another big text saying I don’t want to be in a relationship am not happy in and you deserve a relationship that’s not a lie. We talked said he still loved me so much maybe just need some more time . I was gutted again I felt sick!
    We stayed in touch cos I was worried with his depression . Two weeks later he texts saying how much he still loved and missed me even within his messed up mind ,after that lots of more lovey text and saying just want to sort myself out and for us to be together, this went on for 6 weeks .
    Then I found out for the last 6 weeks he’s been seeing someone else from our work , I confronted him he denied it all calling everyone in work for all kinds getting them pulled into the office for talking about him I believed him so we were getting back together then I hear he’s been seeing another person from our work , he denied it all again but I didn’t want to know I was disgusted both girls have a name for themselves in there ,couldn’t believe it.

    He kept texting wanting to meet up why don’t you believe me nothing has happened then he rang before Xmas saying how messed up he’s been, then admitted bout being with them but they meant nothing it was all a massive mistake both of them, its you I love you the best thing ever in my life we belong together, I’ve been a massive idiot . Ive been messed up cos of medication I still didn’t want to know but he carried on until Feb crying down the phone to me , in the meantime he applied for a job abroad was begging me to go with him start a new life he’s feeling better now his medication is controlled, he took the job in march then I realised I still wanted him i missed him still loved him I said I would give it another go , then I found out he is still with the girl he went with just after we split up and he’s been asking her to have a baby and move abroad with him . Am devastated once again I can’t believe it ,he denied it all again but I had proof his sister in law told me but he still denied it all . Then got a bit nasty with me as id had enough he knew it was over with me now I told the girl everything showed her messages, pictures he had been sending me …..but that wasn’t enough for her she believed him she has decided to give her job her life up here to live with him abroad , after all his lying ,cheating and deceit she even knows about the other girl .

    It makes me sick to think how I loved him and he is just a horrible nasty man !

    Sorry its so long , I just needed bit more insight as this only happened 4 weeks ago . Thank you and sending love to all of you on here for a brighter, happier future x

    • Your words were so important. I need your to hear what was echoing in every word I read. “I knew” “I knew” “I Knew.” Your intuition knows. You knew. You chose to believe HIS words over your knowing. I am sorry for your pain, the silver lining is that if you can decide to trust you moving forward, you can be free from this suffering. You deserve something more. All that on and off? Why should you wait in the wings? You have a life to live, get to it! He will, as you see, now place his next victim in the same position. He is no longer your problem. Live free and trust you! Remember how beautiful and loving you are! Rebuild from that space.

      • Thank you for your lovely, kind words.

        I guess deep down I did know but I loved him . It hurts to think maybe he will change for her now as she has give up everything for him and there walking of into the sunset happy , this is the picture I have in my mind as he is coming back to take her over to their new life . One that he talked of with me!

        Am still uncertain if he is a sociopath ? Even though a lot of things add up which I can now see and also from what I know about him now . Am just so lost because this man was once amazing to me adored me and now its as though he hates me ? within a week still saying am the love of his life to being nasty with me . I know he knew his time was up with me as I found out all his dirty secrets

      • I promise you, he will not have that happily ever after life. Someone who betrays love like that simply cannot. Don’t fret trying to decide if he is a sociopath or not. Instead focus on the love you deserve. You don’t deserve to have someone that loves you ON and OFF…you deserve someone who loves you completely and devotedly. A client sent me this video. I think it can help you. It is Tony Gaskins. You are not a teddy bear! You need to look forward and realize he showed you who he was and who he was what not who you thought you loved. Let go of the delusion of who he was and instead see the truth of how he hurt you and remember how deserving you are.

      • Thank you again X
        I’ve watched the video and I know it’s so true and I realise words you have spoken do really ring true to me.
        Some reason though I still miss him and want my life back with him the happy times ….but at the same time I know I would never take him back and I know it would never work for us , not what I know of him now . But also I hate the thought of him getting on with his life without me living our dream with someone else . my mind is all over the place, just keep thinking of this wonderful person I once knew and loved and it doesn’t make sense to me as now he is this cold, callous unloving person who said good riddance to me . I can’t separate it all right now and even though I know he’s not a nice person I can’t believe he’s done all this to me the person who once idealized me.

        Sorry for going on, am just so lost right now X

      • You don’t miss him. You miss the dream of what you thought you had. You are likely experiencing cognitive dissonance. Two opposing thoughts at the same time. This can feel like a horrific battle. You need to know your attachment to him is like an addiction. Anyone is drawn to what they are addicted to…even knowing it might kill them! He isn’t living a dream with anyone else. She just joined the nightmare! She will one day feel that pain.

        That tug of war in your head is the same one every single person who has endured this kind of relationship suffers. You might want to order my book Me and My Shadow, just type my name in Amazon. Just know your experience is normal and a testimony that you likely are the victim of sociopathic/narcissistic abuse. You need to let go of the memory of what he pretended to be, what he deluded you into and move forward.

      • Thank you again I will order your book straight away x
        your right because I think am crazy sometimes…why would I still miss this person ! But he was so loving, caring, kind and sweet , man of my dreams and its so hard now to think of him as one of my worse nightmares . And that hurts feeling that of someone I loved with all my being.

        Thank you so much for caring and your wonderful site x

      • You are not crazy. This is the normal thinking after this type of relationship. You miss the story of the dream he promised you…the way you felt because of his words that really had no meaning. They were designed to bring you under a spell of undying love so you would be hooked and devoted. That cognitive dissonance (two opposing thoughts at the same time) is normal and painful. Don’t give in to the deception of the kindness. You KNOW the truth, believe that. I hope my book helps you…you deserve to be free. And thank you for your words, I am glad my site is helping you.

      • Thank you so much x

  34. This is so true.just keep a malignant narssasist and he charmed me and told me i was love of his. Life.we married after few months .he was convincing.and seemed. So loyal and lovely.Then.after few weeks after the marriage the cracks started to appear his moods and whole persona changed.i.f.i.didnt do his bidding.or fo things his way.i.was. deemed a slut and all other horrid names .i couldnt believe this was hapoening.i.was actually controlled without my realizing it .i.was isolated in rural place and my freibds .e.and career were in another island.i have the monstering.the emitional.phisical.abuse.and when i threatned the police as he. Threatned to kill me..i.eventually did go to the police .he was arrested for assult.yet. he still trief to blame me.for his actions and told them i even fooled the and apparantley.thats the worst. Level in the relationship as when they know you have seen through their more if a target of their monstering and thriugh it by detaching my self and sanity.totally away from i had to to can never change them to a normal mode of life or respect.they are advice i can give.having experienced 4 years of sheer Never show your hone in literally like a devour you..Get out do it in secret be careful who you his freinds may tell him.what your plans are.just go when u have some where safe to go.and Dont look wisdom wise to never.go.back.if. you leave animals or other precious things in your life warned as he or she will use theese as pawn in the game to get you back,it,like doing a complete house clean .and dont leave anything behind including names addresses phone numbers of freinds and family.because they will try and find you .ad you are their possesion. I wish u Luck lv And victims of a Narsassistic monster.goid luck.

    • I am glad you got out and support your message here. Remember, the best revenge is to have a happy life! I wish you well.

      • So happy you got out and you are free now , Lilly . Hope your life is getting good x

      • Thank you so much! ME TOO! Take care of you Lilly!

  35. Hi Diana: I (very recently) lost a dear friend in a murder suicide. She got pregnant at age 16 by a sociopath. He was into drugs and got clean right before the baby was born. She married him a year after the baby. He got back into drugs. He got clean. She got pregnant accidentally again by him at age 19. He stayed clean, but he began all of the typical sociopathic behaviors (cheating, lying, etc). She had a third child in 2009. It was her idea– but she was very unhappy in her marriage. He was like another child to her. I met her a year ago. We became very close and she revealed her unhappiness. With support from me and other friends, she told him she was done in January. At first, he was very critical of her and seemed ok with the idea of a divorce. They continued to live together as they worked through the paperwork without lawyers. For two weeks, he became the ideal husband– suddenly doing all the things she wanted him to do (like quit smoking). He moved out. Then he became pathetic (acting like he was drowning, to use your metaphor above). He lost his job (thereby screwing up their dissolution agreement), lost weight, etc. He also started to track her… hack her email accounts, drive by her work to see if her car was there and demand to meet if she wanted the money he agreed to pay her, sneaking into her home and going through her things (he alleged that she was cheating on him though they were separated). Last week, she told me that he said he would kill her if she ever cheated on him. I started to research “leaving a sociopath” and it was quite discouraging. I told her she needed to change the locks on her door. She said she was scared he would retaliate for this. But her fear wasn’t enough to leave the house. On Wednesday, he dropped the three kids off with his mom, texted her to say “don’t let the girls go home,” and showed up at her house, where a longtime mutual friend was visiting. He killed this man (father of 2 boys), and shot her in the back and head (5 times) before ending his life. Her friends, her family, we are all haunted by the question “what could we have done?” It seems like even if she had moved out, he would have just found her and killed her with whoever she was with. To coin the line from Sleeping with the Enemy: “I won’t live without you, and I won’t let you live without me.” Now their 3 girls are orphans. 2 families are ripped apart. And we are vexed with our failure to protect her. Can a mother (or father) really escape a sociopath? Is it possible? It doesn’t seem like it today. He would never give up control. I appreciate your thoughts.

    • Thank you for commenting here and I am so sorry for your egregious loss. This story is exactly the one I fear for every person I help. First, I think it is important that you and those that love her do not feel that you failed or could have done more. This was largely out of your hands, out of everyone’s hands. In each circumstance the victim needs to trust their instincts, once they are awakened to the reality of the threat. No one knows patterns better than the person that lives with the sociopath, perhaps it is unconscious, but they observe the patterns and therefore often have powerful prediction skills and then they need to trust those predictions and be willing to do ANYTHING to protect themselves. These individuals (sociopaths and the like) don’t want to get caught, but of course in this case, when he was willing to take his own life you have less power to have him afraid of consequences, because he has already decided his consequences. Always when the threat is present the person should NEVER let them in, NEVER open the door. Even when there are children this can be accomplished by public meeting places and so on. You can never allow yourself to be in a vulnerable position, because they capitalize on vulnerability. In general there is sometimes a benefit to involving the police…it is not always wise to get a restraining order but speaking to the police is still wise. A restraining order is just a piece of paper, but if there is a real threat, sometimes you can get guidance at minimum from the police or domestic shelters. I also suggest the use of video camera’s to surveil your surroundings…and try to not be alone, which of course this person was not alone and it didn’t help because the perpetrator had no value for human life…which is simply true of sociopaths. Above all else I think everyone should read The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker because it helps you understand more about predicting violence. Violence is NOT out of the blue, it is predictable, but the hard part is getting people to realize just how much danger they are in. I am Danger Assessment Certified and in that there is a test to assess if someone is in significant danger (a series of questions)…but the truth is you don’t need the test as much as you just need to know the signs. Most people don’t think they are in much danger, when often they are. There is a check list in Gavin’s book under the Intimate Enemies chapter. Everyone should read it…

      Bottom line is the person needs to be afraid of consequences to be stopped…i.e. fear of loss of reputation, image, or going to jail. If they are willing to die, it is unquestionably harder. I am so sorry for your situation and for everyone situation that mirrors it. This happens every day, and if we can just get more courageous in protection of ourselves, just remember how important we are and be awake to the real danger, perhaps we can stop these types of outcomes. When you know someone cannot be trusted, never allow them in your space. Never. Never.

      I also recommend my book, Me and My Shadow which can be found at Amazon. It s a guide to moving from Fear and Control to Love and Freedom. It addresses how we get in these relationships and offers ideas on how to get out, what to look for, and how to do things to protect yourself. Again, release yourself from ownership if you can. Crazy is crazy and can be unstoppable.

  36. Going through the devestating break up of an 8 year marriage to a narcissist. This has article has been so helpful in trying to figure out what happened. It is truly like morning a death. I am free now. Hoping to have the the strength to stay free (went back to it once before). I read your article daily when I feel weak. Thank you!

    • Lee, I am so glad that you are free and I am so glad that this article helped you! I know that pull that sends you back, always be clear how deserving of love you are and it is never obtainable in the vacant arms of these individuals. Emptiness and pain is all that will come from it, no matter what they promise! If you haven’t ordered my book, you might want to. It is a guide to freedom, why we went in and how to get out for good! Stay strong, you have got this! Create the life YOU want for yourself!

  37. I’m not sure if my ex was a narcissist or a sociopath. I’m leaning towards sociopath. He would sometimes talk about his dad and his past, but it seemed he made it sound worse than it really was. And also, he would have these freak outs. Where he would rock back and forth and not wanna be touched most the time, and he would say mean things and try to leave. But his eyes looked crazy. Like no real human emotion was behind them. Just like darting around the room and grabbing his face. And when he “cried,” there were never any real tears. He would also throw fits if I didn’t want to have sex. The only time he ever really tried to keep me around was when I began to be noticeable disinterested in him or told him I was leaving him. He also never said sorry. He would never openly admit to anything unless I caught him red handed. He also put his hands around my throat and choked me once. While in bed another time he called me a slut. He would laugh at me sometimes when I was upset about something he did. Other times he would have this sympathetic face on but never say anything. Or give an excuse if anything. He also made fun of stuff I liked or pretended to like it and then I would later find out the opposite. He also cared about sex and smoking way too much. I caught him watching porn of women with male parts. Anime porn. Just all types of weird sexual things. I later found out he has messed with guys before. That is not to shame gay men at all, just another point. I also found out from one of his exes that he constantly shamed her and made her feel fat and all the relationship consisted of was smoking weed and having sex. Probably a ton more things I’ve blocked out. Help?

    • At this point it doesn’t matter what might be true about him. What really matters is your healing and not being in a situation like that again. You don’t deserve to live a life where you are on edge all the time or feeling disregarded or unimportant. I am not sure how long ago this was or how you are doing in your life now. I hope to help everyone live freely. This means fully understanding your worth, never tolerating abuse and living the life YOU want, on YOUR terms…and to do that, we first reveal what made you believe you needed to stay for any length of time with someone who would harm you…then we move past the beliefs you held that allowed that, to the ones that would better serve you. If you would like to talk, I offer a free consult. I encourage you to send me an email to and if you are comfortable~give me a little more detail about where you are on the journey and your contact phone number and I will email you back with some time options to speak. You are what is most important. You might also want to get my book Me and My Shadow on Amazon. There is a link to it on this site. Thank you for writing.

  38. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  39. Friend,
    I’ve spent hours, days, weeks pouring over information trying to figure out what was causing me such pain. Your wisdom as educated me more than any other, and has been the only one to actually help. My heart has been breaking and I could see no end to it in any direction I turned. I so wanted it to be real. It felt so good, so happy and momentarily safe. It was a field of dreams, but inexplicably composed of water, which kept slipping through my fingers. Your writing gave me the confirmation of my clarity that is setting me free. I was able to finally discard him, only with the respect and consideration that I never received. You may have saved my life and you definitely saved the quality of it. I thank you for your efforts and light, which helped me release this anquish, which masqueraded as love and romance.

    • Andrea, I am so glad that my words helped you wake up and realize you can be free. I know the anguish that goes with this awakening and the shattering of what you thought could be, but this is also the beginning of YOUR happiness. Something that I truly encourage you to be focused on solely! Yes, for him it was a masquerade, but for you it was real…and we have to remember that what we gave from our heart was always right, we just need to be clearer on what we deserve. If you need help feel free to inbox me at I do offer a free consult that can be quite pivotal. Most important is take care of you!. Thank you for your kind words here. They keep me going!

  40. Brilliant article on differences between soc. and narcs. Really insightful.

  41. Fantastic article, thank you. My ex is absolutely a narcissist with sociopathic traits. 21 years of insanity was finally enough for me. However getting out has been a tough journey as he refuses to let go. The divorce is final but he’s now challenging it. The lengths he’s going to intimidate, humiliate, and retain any ounce of control of my life is unbelievable. I hope it stops someday because it’s truly a nightmare.

    • I am sorry to hear about your situation. You can and will get through this. 21 years is a long time, and you have come so far by getting out. If you need help I do a free consult and might be able to give you some tips. This is how they play…the less you engage the better. His goal is likely to keep you in the court system. Is your attorney clear on the type of individual he/she is dealing with? That is the the most critical. They are like trying to nail jello to a tree. You need to know how to play. If you want to connect inbox me at (My book can help too, the link is on the blog). I hope you get released from his drama soon.

  42. Dianna,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to host the web conference last week with JoJo. It was the first one I had attended. I listened intently to what you were saying and now I have read the blog (sorry back to front), all the distinctions have sunk home. The extent of my previous knowledge seemed to be encapsulated in a meme I have…… A sociopath will steal your wallet. A narcissist will also steal your wallet, but will then help you find it. That seems to hold true.
    I have now manage a year no contact and everything divorce-wise settled. A smear campaign and previously street harassment has been going on 2008 which doesn’t seem to be compatible with the narcissist walking away. However I now realise, that the smear campaign is still giving her a source of supply from others as her aura of being a good/perfect/wonderful person as they also sympathise and marvel at the way she has coped. Yes, the narcissist wants our admiration and sympathy at the same time.
    I have been dealing with a narcissistic MIL, narcissistic older sister/now ex wife… the golden child, and the younger sister, whose personna, I think falls more into the sociopath range after reading your article. As a group the three people marrying into this family have been subject to smear campaign that I see link to the same behaviour pattern over a period of fifty years. Giradian Minnectic theory about scapegoating fits the pattern well. I don’t know if you have come across this. Probably.
    Every court undertaking and order was simply ignored justified by making false police complaints, six or more beginning after I had obtained the divorce on the ground of domestic abuse. I’ve been seeing the trait of being able to break the law with blatant disregard more as a sociopathic one and thus I may have been dealing with a narcissistic sociopath. I note your comment about overlapping traits. I wonder if you have time to comment on this. I’d be most grateful.

    • Thank YOU for taking the time to join the call and read and respond to my message in my blog. Your comment about the sociopath and narcissist and the stealing of the wallet made me laugh! Good call! I would clarify though that they will PRETEND to help you find it! My view is that the narcissist will say things to others indicating they had to call the police, and that there were acts of violence and betrayal as part of their smear campaign, but the sociopath will actually do it! The narcissist in my view, is more of a coward (both are cowards nonetheless), he/she talks a big game about what happened and lies in their effort to destroy you, and yes it can be quite effective, but the sociopath will more readily lie to the authorities to have you have a true consequence. How I mean this, is one will say they went to the authorities, but they really hadn’t, while the other (the sociopath) will do it. I am sorry that you have been enduring this all your life and it is okay to walk away from anyone that harms you, including family. I have encountered many many stories in regard to these personalities, and to me the overlapping traits are often present, I sort of look at it like this: The sociopath acts cruelly because he/she can and to simply win at their game that is fabricated in their head, and their winning is simply your losing. It was their strategy from the onset. The narcissist initiates their game only if they think you have shone the light on the truth of who they are and their reputation is at stake. The way I see it then, the sociopaths strategy from the beginning was to destroy you, and the narc does it when they feel they have to to save themselves. The narc of course also must be the most important person in any circumstance, and the sociopath doesn’t need that in the same way. What I always say though, is the label is truly not important. What is important is your well being and learning how to move on and through these circumstances. I hope this helps some, and if you would like I would be glad to do a free consultation with you. Inbox me at if you would like to arrange this. You might want to also consider getting my book which is a guide to freedom. You need to assess why you tolerated and engaged in such a relationship so that you never do it again!

  43. Thank you, Diana, for your very comprehensive response. I am a long way down the road starting when a friend lent me a copy of the Celestine Prophecy in 2006 leading to the Guide to the Celestine Project. In 2009, I joined Experience Project – I Live in a Sexless Marriage, which strangely enough is about domestic abuse, and began to wake up. The Rip van Winkle of the cognitive dissonance world. I’m 69yo and proof that it is never to late to wake up. I remember being member no 7300. Today, there are over 50,000 people in that group. It was in 2011, that I join our secret Facebook group specialising in narcissistic abuse and healing. I was effectively homeless living in a trailer, broke, my business and reputation ruined. It was when I got my own apartment last year, that I finally felt peace and uttered the words, “I got me back.”
    Gradually I began to realise that I had attracted quite a few narcissists into my life and began to realise also that I had only got me back to the person I was when I attracted these people. I had to go right back to the source of childhood and the circumstances leading to who I was to make peace with that past.
    Being an empath is described as being both a joy and a curse. In my opinion, my journey has been worth it, all of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. It is said that your branches cannot reach heaven unless your roots have reached down to hell.
    I always believed that there is good in everyone whatever bad/evil thing they had done. It wasn’t until I read the ‘People of the Lie, Scot Peck’, that I finally accepted there are truly evil people in this world, and they are all around us.
    I can spot one at 10 yards now. If I do see the ex wife, all I see is the person behind the mask.
    Life throws hot bricks at us. It’s how we handle that hot brick that counts. We are not like them.
    I think I’m enjoying the wonderful life Rip van Winkle had after he woke up. I an the Old One (LOL)

    • Sorry for my delay in responding. I am truly impressed that you are able to step back and see the truth and you didn’t let yourself believe that it was too late for change. It is wonderful that you reached out to various resources and made sure that you knew what your life was trying to teach you, and that now you can see those that wish to harm from a distance. I too had trouble believing people could truly be evil, but there is no doubt now. I never read People of the Lie, but I like Scott Peck so may have to check it out. I wish you much joy on your continued journey! Thank you for your comments, and I agree with your branches analogy. I am glad you are back to who you are, and grateful for all the phases that got you there.

  44. I met a guy on line 43yrs seemed good didnt rush to meet him then i did. Made mistake there and 1st time meeting him. Pushed me to be his girlfriend i was 51. we got on well he lived 35/40 miles away. Then i noticed lies appearing stories changing. Met his mum/dad couple of times. Met his kids once. Then middle of sept he was here for his birthday from 18th to 22nd then when he went back made a post on fb to be told by a woman they had been out a few times. My gut was telling me something was wrong. Even his mum said was selfish dosent bother with his kids. Warned me wasnt telling me the truth about everything. When i challenged him we was ok then he blocked me of fb etc but what i gather not of his fone. Still trying to work out what kind of guy he is no its a bullet missed. Some of things u have written seem to be him hes still friends with the other woman

    • I encourage you to let go of who or what he might be, and move on and don’t look back. It sounds like you got out before any real damage was done, be grateful for that. Yes, a bullet missed. It is good that now you know to consider what red flags might look like and be prepared to walk away as needed! Go be happy.

  45. Aloha Diana,

    exhale….. I’ve been in love with a sociopathic narcissist for almost two years. I identified his narcissism almost immediately, but disregarded it. He never followed through on his word, we we’re long distance, having met in Hawaii and he lived in Vegas. Even flying out to see him was amazing at the time, but looking back I can see the small behavioral patterns that I quickly dismissed because I wanted to bad for our love to be real.
    I fed his ego, believed in our unique divine twin flame soulmate love, made myself always available for him, etc…
    Then the darker side of him started showing and I didn’t recognize the man I was in love with. Super critical, mean, manipulative, lying, condescending, alienating me from friends…etc.

    I finally broke free, but it’s still so fresh. He sends me spiritual links referring to his evolution and enlightenment, and links referring to my self-sabotage and unconsciousness. All of which I haven’t responded to.

    Still, there’s a part of me that wants to believe that this love was real, because it was my pure love and so real to me! I invested in an insatiable void of a man consumed with ego and control. Seeing his faults and still loving him unconditionally. It was him that pushed me away… Thank Goddess!

    How does an empath revive from these experiences? I don’t believe in love like I used to. I know I learned so much about myself and I’m grateful for having experienced what I did because I’m stronger and wiser. Yet, now I question love…which sucks, because I now know love is not enough.

    Any pointers on survival after a being in love with a sociopathic narcissist would be greatly appreciated. I’m also interested in a consultation.

    Much Love and Thankfulness for you sharing this article.

    • You sound quite clear headed and you should feel good about your strength to not respond, even though I know there is part of you that aches. Sounds like you saw the truth quite clearly and quickly, compared to the depth of possibilities. I do a free consult, with no obligation, and often that really helps people catapult themselves onto the next level of healing…if you want to do that, please in box me at (of course my book can help it is written as a guide, so the tab on this site or go to Amazon) The most important guidance is begin to focus inward…each time you think of him or that outer life come back to you and what you truly need and feel. Journal daily. Be the best most loving parent to yourself. Let me know if you would like to meet .We meet via the phone or Skype if you are out of the country.

    • I am so sorry I hadn’t responded to this message. Somehow I missed the notification that it was here. I feel your pain, and I know the cognitive dissonance you speak of. Where you intellect tells you how bad it really was for you, but your heart wants to believe the tenderness you thought you saw. They sell you on the dream and your heart goes all in…only to find the dream was a lie. The dream is the hardest part to let go of. It is really critical you spend time with you, journaling your pain and being the best most patient loving parent to yourself. I would like to suggest we do a free consult. There is no obligation and sometimes in that hour together we accomplish a great deal toward your healing…and if you haven’t done so, consider reading my book. It is a guide to healing. The spiritual messages are his hook. He knows you are open and believe in something greater than you…and so he gave the illusion to be connected to that, but it is all lies. It is as you said the dream of twin flame, that once in a life time love they often use as the lure. Never lose site of how wonderful you are. Feel free to inbox me at And block him if you can.

  46. Thanks for this article. The comments show that it is important to build relationships slowly and carefully, and not to be wooed by the promise of Prince Charming. People are not perfect and perfect relationships do not exist; however, some people are dangerous and may cause a lot of damage to other people. Sociopaths are rare and can inflict pain without remorse and tend to veer into criminal conduct. Narcissists appear to be on the increase with some people having a bloated sense of entitlement and intentionally using other people for personal gain. Best advice appears to be to stay grounded, healthy and realistic. Relationships can be a game where one wins and the other loses. We’ve all been burnt, but some leave charred remains and ruin our faith in love and deliberately betray our trust for personal gain. Soul murder does exist.

    • Beautifully and accurately depicted. Thank you for sharing!

  47. This is a great blog post. I have always had relationship issues and have started to follow the advice of Dr. Robi Ludwig. I saw her on a tv show once and I really appreciated her take on current dating issues. I found her YouTube channel and have really enjoyed her outlook on relationships. I have included her youtube channel so other people can see her videos:

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts about my blog and introducing others to another path to information.

  48. It’s a double-edged sword- a two-fold double edged sword. Your qualities that attract the narcissist are the same qualities that make them hate you. You’re amazing qualities repetedly remind them of what they want and can never truly be. Also, in giving them the adoration they seek and require, you’re actually reminding them of their feelings of inadequacies. Hear that last statement: When you adore the narcissist in the way they want and need, you’re also reminding them of how inadequate they feel. They want your compliments and then quickly feel disgust that you, did in fact, by complimeneting them actually remind them of their flaws. Weird, isn’t it? You can’t win! They love you so you’ll give them what they want and when you do they hate you because they needed something from you. Remember that in your recovery. They wish they were as good as you and hate that you remind them of what they’re not. I hope that gives you some strength. The cripling pain you feel after being discarded, I know it very well, is not a sign of your lack of worth but rather a sign of your true value! You’re the one with the strength and the light. You don’t need the narcisisst; the narcissist needs you. This, my friends, is their number one dirty secret.

    • So beautifully stated! Well done. Thank you for placing your thoughts here! You articulated the nonsensical and made it make sense! Yes, I wholeheartedly agree<3

  49. Thank you, Diana! I hope I can help somebody. I understand the pain of narcissistic abuse only too well. It took me a lifetime to get to the understanding that I have now. The pain they leave you is the pain they, themselves, are trying to avoid. Don’t allow them to give you the pain that actually belongs to them. This may sound cliche, but your success really is the best revenge. Turn your focus back to you!

    • Yes yes, I do have the privileged of helping meany! My pain has turned into, in essence, my gift. 🙂 I agree wholeheartedly with your view of the best revenge and that the way to arrive is to focus on yourself! Yes, to take care of you. Thank you for your words.

  50. I am a man with a wife that seems to contrast both, but not entirely both sociopathic and narcissistic behavior. We have 3 kids together. 1 of which was not planned and I was duped into having. The last child, cause her bad behavior got children services involved. Though doing the case plan I was, after she took everything and doing the plan from a homeless shelter.. she had tricked me into another baby, then married me so that when children services was going to give the kids solely to me, due to her inability to complete the plan or stay clean and sober. She used her charm and love to trick me into marriage. I know now it was purely because she knew as a married couple they couldnt just grant me custody alone. However, the stories of betrayal stem much deeper. I would say, on average I catch her cheating yearly. These relationships, every single time she thinks she is in love for the first time. Has even got engaged whilst being married and not filing, not even for separation. She will flaunt these achievement on social media. She is gone now, and it would appear she is engaged again. Usually she leaves with the kids, but not always. Sometimes she just abandons us and the kids. Always my fault. However, she has no emotional attachment to the children. Besides on social media. She is sure to take pics with the kids when she is around or maybe when others start to question her involvement with them. Then she promotes this idea that she is mother of the year. All of which is a ruse. For christmas she spends all my money, 2-3 grand and it literally feels as if she is buying their affection. almost as if deep down she knows the kids will see her for what she is and she thinks they can head their feelings off at the pass by being extravagant. When she leaves, there is little to no warning, but this can vary. As she gets older and time goes on there are subtle differences in her pursuits and in the insidious nature of the pursuit. Early on, it was clear as day and she made no attempt really to hide it, I remember one time, we were laying in bed, she got a phone call from a man, had the phone call right in front of me. she got his hotel, and room number and packed a bag on the phone with him ignoring me. I was on bended knee begging her not to leave and do this again.. no remorse, she packed and left. hitch-hiking to go be with him. To most, this would seem the most outrageous of crimes and many if not all people would walk away. at the time we had been together 4 years and had 2 children. I had surely become codependant to allow this behavior against me. Alas I did, and i pined for her, was a wreck without her and was wondering how can someone who professes such love for me do such a heinous act. I have always felt as her safety net, the emotionaly stable, decently attractive older man by 5 years with sound mind and decision making skills. When she cycles like this, generally all of her decisions become warped and turn sour. Even the men she chooses. Often they are my exact opposit and wretched individuals. Besides, of course, being wretched for being willing to extract a mother and wife from her home. That, goes without saying. I have been doing a lot of studying on this. Cause all the time I am to blame. I am so wrapped up in this betrayal that I find myself apologizing for her indiscretions. I blame myself and willfully apologize for her cheating. I am made to believe I didnt hold her enough, or show enough love, In the end, it was something I did. as the article describes its hard for one to go from 60 to 0 and not wonder what happened. How can someone fall out of love and in love over night and so easilly without regard for how you feel at all. Even though you try to communicate passionately and without arguing and making sound arguments I hope you all can understand what I mean by that. I mean, my intention was clearly not to fight and argue but to state clearly my arguments in a non confrontational way. But this logic is met with disdain and the cold shoulder. The only thing that will be responded to is the mundane. The baby is sick, or where is the medical cards. Stuff like that will garner a response, However, any discussion of us at all will be met with indifference and silence. This time is different, in that she left. Me and the kids are here trying to make sense of it. She will come home every 3 days or so like clockwork. She says its for the children, but she comes home late and knows the children will be in bed. If they are still awake, its clear its not for the babies as she will ignore them and any attempt by them to garner some appreciation or semblance of affection is met with aggravation. Starting to feel like she only comes home to have an argument with me. Or to see if I will be pining still. So she can meet my attempts at displaying affection towards her with utter disregard and even hate. She makes me feel like she would be cheating on her new boyfriend or fiancee with her husband as sick as it sounds. Im trying to figure out how she can be so fiercely loyal to this new guy she just recently met and not loyal to her very husband who has always been there for her when everyone has shunned and turned their backs. When Im always the one to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life that she ultimately will end up destroying piece by piece until she is left hollow. I have given my life to her and put all m dreams on hold for hers. This year I decided to stop and go to college and start doing for me. Ever since I started college though she has been different. Ive just had my midterms and she is gone. Like she resents my success. She tries to control me by telling me to get out, she will get a restraining order or order of protection against me when Ive never been violent towards her. In fact the opposite is true, she is the violent one towards me. Though she will tell people, I often find out that she is the battered woman. I am physically, emotionally and financially abusive towards her and in fact those are her qualities towards our marriage at me. Eventually people find holes in her story and seek me out to get some validation, get the other side of the story and I will learn all of this. She changes her whole life and persona for the new person. If the guy likes designer clothes and a barby on his arm. She will be that. changing everything from how she speaks to what she wears even her political views are swayed. But like clockwork. After around 3 months, give or take of course. When the relationship becomes work, as relationships are.. and this love she thinks is love is tested and becomes work to sustain. She will begin to drop that facade she has created and again overnight with the new guy.. turn on him, all the things she became to be with him she will do in reverse and do the opposite. Then want to be back with me and blame him. if he tries to call or text. its all his fault “stop texting me, having you hurt my marriage enough? I love my husband and family and were trying to fix what you did to us!” Meanwhile, I am asking how could I ever love and want back a woman who continually does this to us? Why is she so mean and hateful all of a sudden. We just finally rebuilt our lives from the last affair and she does it again and hates me for it? How can you hate me for helping you get your life back together yet again? MEanwhile, you psychoanalyze yourself, looking for tips as to what she has said that may have been hints she didnt like about you and you should of recognized and changed.. so you do. Hoping she realizes that you do want to be a better person, you never meant to fail her. If only she would have said she is feeling the way she is feeling so you could have fixed it before she went out and got into a whole new relationship. Why is she treating the new man better than she ever treated you. Why is she drinking every night when she hates drinking? While your wondering these things, emotions flood your thoughts.. you seem bipolar when your not.. one day your loving her and trying to get her back. the next your saying screw you I dont deserve this then back again. But normally this would never be you and you would never flip flop your feelings naturally in such ways. But you are to blame, they cant make sense of you, you need help cause your bi polar and cant figure yourself out. Then the smear campaign starts. she validates what she is doing and how quickly she could leave you for another, with others by saying whatever she has learned about their ideals.. and you are the opposite of those peoples ideals and therefor since she has been unhappy for so long its acceptable for you to go out and seek a new man even while married. Then when she comes back, she will post on social media and text her friends.. if you respect me, then you will respect my decision to work it out. I dont want to hear anything about it, so if you got something to say block and delete me cause I dont have time for that. Like no one is allowed to question her behavior. not even me. I am expected to forgive and forget and move on and be happy. For a short while, to reinstall trust, she will give me complete access to her accounts and phone and whatever else I desire as are the terms. But eventually, my forgiving and trusting nature will shine through I will believe its my fault all along, augment my behavior and even subtly change my spirituality for her which I didnt ever recognize. I will think the worst is behind us, she does really love me and is in love with me. ITs going to be ok this time. I can stop worrying and snooping and trying to catch her lies and we can be a family. Nope, lo and behold.. shortly after that.. its right back to square one. First it starts with sex, like shes no longer sexually attracted. THats ok though, Im 35 years old and sex doesnt make a relationship or marriage to me anyway Im more grown than that. Then it will be as though we are living as room mates. Then slips in the mask will happen Ill recognize some trends and investigate and there it will be clear as day its happening again. But dont dare criticize or let it be known your suspicious. Again its all your fault, your pushing her away cause you dont trust her. You didnt see what you really saw and you question your sanity. then a week later, its out in the open shes in love for the very first time. It seems so genuine, she will listen to love songs and be so happy. From the outside, you would swear she is in love for the very first time even though you thought she was in love with you.. Its physically and mentally exhausting. You lose hope and joy. Essentially your very peace of mind. Watching tv is even a task. Become short with the kids, dont mean to. constantly apologizing, not only for her absence but your shortness. Though, through all her hate and threats which are just scare tactics and means of control. She will do subtle things to keep you on the back burner. Like a text message saying, Ill always love you brian. Or when she does come home, though I try to avoid her. She will come in the room I am in and strip naked and change her clothes right in front of me, very close as well. trying to clearly garner some type of physical attraction from me. Or she will come in the room and start talking to herself. Just random stuff and say it out loud like Im supposed to say what? huh? are you talking to me? just so she can be more indifferent.. like no, why would I want to talk to you? I want you out of my life! uh you disgust me to even look at. When a week ago you were the best person shes ever slept with. In life though, she would appear completely normal. Its scary how well she can function and often at a higher level than myself. Her ability to manage tasks to fruition and take care of day to day activities is always on point. leading you further to believe she is perfect, besides at being a mother or wife. Everything else though, spot on. So this must be my fault, how can she be so perfect at everything else she does and then fail so miserable at being the person she should be the most, a wife and a mother. So you doubt yourself, question everything you did and ever said. was it enough, was I enough, what didnt I give her? If only she comes back i can be better, I am getting better I am better. I can do it, I can do it for her. Its sick, and the kids are a pawn in this game. Child support, the kids, everything is a weapon in her arsenal to make sure I dont find someone new. From reading this article it sounds like she has traits from both interwoven and I cant figure out what exactly she is so I can look up the exact condition. Cause with this knowledge is my power. I can see past her ploys so I dont react so quickly and easilly to them. I know her tactics so she cant use them against me. Any and all help or opinions I welcome.

    • This was painful to read in that it was so apparent you do not see your self-worth. Everyone can make a mistake, but this is no mistake. This is a pattern. A pattern of behavior that continually disregards you, and as is customary in these kinds of relationships, you are asking yourself what you are doing wrong. What you are doing is wrong is allowing yourself to be disregarded time and time again. You need to begin rebuilding your self-esteem. I would guess there are some family dynamics that began long before this relationship that had you working harder in an effort to receive love. You deserve love because you are exist and of course you are loyal and so on. What you are calling kindness, love or any words of the sort from her, especially when you are talking about the “new” relationship is nothing of a genuine well meaning nature. It is MANIPULATION. I strongly suggest you get my book and/or have a free consult with me. Truly, there is no obligation after that call, and often we can accomplish a lot on that call. You need a big jolt of remembering your self worth. or email me at I am truly sorry for your pain and your challenging circumstance. You can have a happy life.

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