tw: psychological abuse

In psychology, the ‘foot-in-the-door phenomenon’ is the tendency for people who have first agreed to small things to later comply to much larger things.

This is how abusive relationships work. They do not start out violent and brutally abusive. They warm you up to it slowly. It is a psychological wearing down of your sense of self-worth and safety. Do not ever think “why did they start dating him?” or “why don’t they just leave?” because victims of abusive relationships have been psychologically conditioned to accept, or even think they agreed to and deserve the abuse.

Yandere!LeviXListener 2
  • Yandere!LeviXListener 2
  • Cody, Michaela Laws
  • SNK Yandere Series
Play

**TRIGGER WARNING: THIS IS A DANGEROUS STAGE OF OBSESSIVE LOVE DISORDER. THIS SCENE INVOLVES THE LISTENER BEING PSYCHOLOGICALLY ABUSED WITH A BLINDFOLD. PLEASE BE WARY ABOUT THIS SHOULD YOU LISTEN.

But if you do listen… you should listen to this with headphones… kay?**

You all asked for it. Since we got funded for Seduce Me, I was able to take some time and do this on top of some commissions xD.

My reason for my madness: Levi, in my deep opinion, is a psychological yandere, kind of like Marco. However, Levi probably WOULD hurt you physically at final stage, so we’re not gunna take him there, kay? <3

Once again, BIG THANKS TO CODY <3

CREDITS:
Corporal Levi - Cody (asklevivoice)
Script/Mix by Michaela Laws

DOWNLOAD IT HERE! <3

Enjoy~~~ (Follow along with the audio with YOUR script~)

———

YOUR SITUATION: After the first time you were called into Levi’s officer, you’ve been trying to be good… sadly, Levi doesn’t think so and Drags you to his room for a punishment.

(You are walking to your dorm room after a long day. However, Levi comes up and grabs your hand, dragging you behind him in the opposite direction. Before you can speak, he speaks first.) Keep your mouth shut. I need to speak to you alone. We’re going to my room. (You start to ask why, but he turns to you with a deadly glare.) What did I just say? (You decide to keep quiet. Levi continues to lead you to his room. He pushes you in and close/locks the door, leaving you trapped with him.)

You must really want me to lock you up in here, don’t you? (You ask what he means.) And you’re still playing innocent. You either must be bad at following directions or you’re just begging me to punish you. Which is it? (You tell him you don’t know what he’s talking about! You’ve done nothing!!)

First you were friendly with Jaeger, now you’re cozy with Kirschtein. I’ve seen how he looks at you and how he tries to get close to you. You think I haven’t noticed your little gaze at him, too? I was being nice with my last warning, but now I don’t think I’ll be as nice this time.

(You see him pull a large black cloth out of his pocket. In fear, you ask what it is.) What do you think it is? It’s a blindfold. We’re gunna play a little game of trust. I’m going to put this on you and you’re going to have to trust me. Then you’ll understand how I feel when you disobey my trust. Now.. don’t move. (You have no choice. You stand still as he comes near you and ties the blindfold around your head over your eyes.) This is an order: Do not take off the blindfold no matter what. When this game is over, I will take it off for you.

(You are left in the dark, only able to hear Levi’s footsteps. After a small pause, you hear a sudden kick on wood, as Levi kicks his dresser hard.)

Everytime you look at one of those filthy pigs, I get so angry. Why give them your attention when all they want to do is roll you in the dirt? That’s all they want.

(You hear him move away from the dresser and try to follow where he’s going before suddenly hearing an almost explosive glass shatter. Levi has broken his mirror.)

Can’t you see I’m trying to protect you? When I tell you to ignore them, it’s for your own good. I care for you more than anyone in the legion– no. On this God forsaken planet. Why would you hurt my trust?

(Levi suddenly walks up and talks into your ear, holding you to him to make sure you don’t move from him.)

You do love me, right? (You say yes, earning a soft sigh.) Then I’ll warn you one. last. time…

STAY. AWAY. FROM THEM.

Are we clear? (You say Yessir like the good girlfriend cadet you are…) Good. (Levi gently kisses you, sealing your lips from making any more noise.)

Psychological abuse can be just as harmful as physical abuse on children

via Medical News Today | July 31, 2012

Child abuse experts say psychological abuse can be as damaging to a young child’s physical, mental and emotional health as a slap, punch or kick.

While difficult to pinpoint, it may be the most challenging and prevalent form of child abuse and neglect, experts say in an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) position statement on psychological maltreatment in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Psychological abuse includes acts such as belittling, denigrating, terrorizing, exploiting, emotional unresponsiveness, or corrupting a child to the point a child’s well-being is at risk, said Dr. Harriet MacMillan, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences and pediatrics of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and the Offord Centre for Child Studies. One of three authors of the position statement, she holds the David R. (Dan) Offord Chair in Child Studies at McMaster.

“We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, resulting from the kinds of behavior that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted,” she said, giving the example of a mother leaving her infant alone in a crib all day or a father involving his teenager in his drug habit.

Keep reading

List of examples of emotional abuse 2/28

Verbal/Emotional invalidation, part 1

- trivialize hurtful (sarcastic) statements/actions by saying ‘I was only joking.’, ‘You have no sense of humour…’, ‘Don’t take everything so seriously!’, ’You’re exaggerating, it wasn’t that bad.’, etc.
- if the child is shown to be in the right after a difference of opinion, that is met with studied indifference - if the child is discovered to be wrong, the error is pointed out strongly
- never admitting one’s own mistakes, instead having to be always right, without exception, and always having to have the last word - even if the explanation is far-fetched or simply plain wrong; never apologizing
- blocking out any discussion if the child points out the abusive behaviour with arguments like ‘You are ungrateful!’, ‘How dare you to say something like that!’, possibly followed by an enumeration of all the things that are good in the family (e.g. excursions, holidays, birthday parties, leisure activities, etc.) or prodding to those who have it ‘worse’ (e.g. the “poor kids in Africa”) or that the child should be happy because they aren’t physically/sexually abused or because they have a much better life than the parents had when they where children
- denying the emotional abuse by pointing out that you don’t abuse the child, because you don’t beat them
- mocking or ignoring the feelings (and tears) of the child (including if they react in an injured manner to degrading “jokes“: ‘Suck it up! You can’t even take a joke…’) and/or seeing them as wrong and punishable (a sign of weakness)

Physical and emotional abuse are the two most frequent basic forms of religious abuse in the family… The second form (emotional abuse) regards the spreading of fear by instilling religious beliefs, which trigger feelings of fear, guilt and shame in the abused individuals. Ultimately, these individuals are prone to feeling alone, distressed, worthless, neglected, or even cursed.
—  Rachel Novsak (et al), Therepeutic Implications of Religious-Related Emotional Abuse
The way emotional abuse works*

is that you don’t even know you’re being abused until one day you wake up and realize that you don’t recognize yourself anymore.

Everything that once made you happy, you do in secret. You start automatically taking the blame in every argument, and apologize for everything. You walk on egg shells ever so gracefully because it has become your way of life. You want a way out, but to even fathom one, is overwhelming. You keep thinking that things will get better…but they never do. You sink deeper and deeper, and if you’re lucky, like I was, there will be a hole in the ground once you hit rock bottom, and you’ll be able to crawl out.

(*I’m speaking from my own personal experience)

super powers.

when you’re fifteen years old your idea of strength is not sitting in the shower at midnight dry heaving and sobbing into your knees. when you’re twenty-three, it isn’t your idea of strength either; but it is definitely better than doing other things.

i watched the jessica jones series on netflix after reading this article and speaking with some friends from home who have both watched the series and have had similar experiences to me. the article itself was nothing short of a punch in the gut but the show did not effect me in full until i finished it. ya see, my experience with my ex-boyfriend never actually seemed real until i watched it happen in front of me in a television show (minus super strength and great rough sex with mike colter and my ex not being british with mind control powers of the super variety). of course there were moments of clarity where i knew that it happened but when you have slipped in and out of something so gross and horrible for you it stops being fact and starts to become a feeling.

after eight on and off years it is still hard to refer to my ex-boyfriend as my abuser.

i remember watching a vhs tape in my health class about abusive relationships. your average after school special where one day the guys tells the girl  to change her outfit because he doesn’t like it, the next day he shoves her against a car, and before you know it he beats her to a pulp and then says he’ll kill her or kill himself if she leaves. the ending is always that she is strong enough in the end and leaves and gets an adult involved, there’s a restraining order, what’s done is done. what they never told me in health class is that sometimes abuse doesn’t have to leave a mark, that you can feel stained without feeling a fist against your cheek. without wiping your blood out of your eyes or scrubbing it out of your clothes. that someone following you to work because you won’t stop to talk to them isn’t romantic but actually super scary. i think it’s important to have shows that depict abuse survivors and accurate recounts of emotional and psychological abuse to be a stand in for the new ‘after-school special’ and for an audience that was brought up thinking differently about what abuse is and how many forms there are and how they work. it’s really damaging to watch shows that try to make girls and boys believe that manipulation and stalking is a form of romance.

as much as i bring up my past relationship on my personal blog and with friends, i found i was never really expressing how i felt as much as i was just story telling. i sometimes believe that my past relationship is the most interesting thing about me; i’m so embarrassed and ashamed to admit that. it’s something that i am great at cracking witty jokes about or stating plainly and immediately emotionally recoiling to prove to whoever i’m talking to that i’m past it, that i’m not bitter. except, i am bitter and i’m not past that pain yet because i was never letting myself really believe that it happened, i turned it into something i could separate from myself and only remember parts of, just the bad parts.

my ex told me that i had a selective memory and that it’s ‘unnerving’ to him that i can’t remember the great things he did for me because of ‘how badly i want to be the victim’.

it’s almost like you meet people and immediately say ‘hi i’m stefani, let me tell you about my shitty ex-boyfriend’.’

sometimes and some days i agree with how he said that.

but instead of getting into the things my ex did, because hey lets not relive it for the internet to see, let’s talk about something positive (but still sort of sad, whoops).

when i was done with the last episode i took a minute to look up some other articles to see what else i could relate to. half-way through the second paragraph of the first one i found my heart settled itself in my throat. it finally hit me all at once, that the pain that i dealt with, and still deal with, was valid. after spending years not thinking it ‘really was’ or that maybe i was over reacting because that’s what he said or that’s what my mom thought i was doing; i felt like it was okay to be upset about it. not angry, not the way i had been before, but sad, aching, but in some weird way: free. for once i knew what i was dealing with and could put a name to it.

i haven’t talked to my ex in about two months which doesn’t sound promising or whatever, but for the first time it feels like it really was and is the last time. since our last conversation, where i finally put into words all of the things i was afraid to say to him, i was able to remove him as a person in my life and be comfortable with that. but like i said, abuse stops being a person and starts becoming a feeling (at least for me, please if anyone relates to what i mean i urge you to express it to me because hi, feelings are weird). since i moved officially to new york i’ve been going through what i can only describe as a mild form of ptsd. in college i depended a lot on closing myself off and being sarcastic and caustic (but also really funny ok) in order to keep from seeming vulnerable (give or take a few ‘really drunk at the kingston ave 3 train stop and crying at a boy that kissed me a few times’ moments). i related to jessica’s biting sarcasm and blunt comments because i’ve been that, and i’m still that. it’s very hard for me to be nice to people i’m just meeting without hiding behind the guise of that ‘funny dark haired bitchy girl with a fat ass (ayy!) who i can never tell if she’s joking when she tells me i’m an embarrassment to the human race’. don’t try to hurt me or get to know me because i’m going to hurt your feelings and walk away from you first sort of mentality.

and it’s not for lack of not wanting to be with someone again, it’s just not really knowing how to be. it’s being afraid that i’m capable of hurting other people the way i’ve been hurt. it’s understanding that i have also been manipulative and have been just as shitty to my ex as he’s been to me because i’ve closed off just the same. i’m making an active promise to myself, after crying for four hours in the dark on my floor, to be more vulnerable as i move on in my life. not only in romantic relationships, but just in general. being more vulnerable with myself because i spent so much time not being that and shutting down in order to let room in for other people’s pain. i never felt like i was allowed to really hurt because i was constantly reminded that someone, my ex in particular, was hurting worse than i was. that what i felt wasn’t important. i still struggle with thinking my thoughts and feelings are important or interesting to other people.

something that watching this show helped me realize is that you can start over after destroying something that was holding you back. that’s what i’m working on now, facing what is staring me in the face. all the fear i have about actually becoming my full potential as a person and not being a shell of myself. looking in the mirror and not feeling stained or bruised anymore. realizing that any other men in my life are not and are never going to be my ex, and that i cannot expect that whatever love i get in the future is going to be that kind of love. not stressing out when someone doesn’t text me back (holy shit i know it’s so petty but there are reasons why !!!). not being afraid to be open and genuine at the first sign of friendship or romantic feelings.

most importantly, i need to stop apologizing to other people for being myself. i need to stop being insecure with being vulnerable or missing people or wanting to talk to someone.

i don’t want my best friend from home to think my laugh still sounds like there is nothing behind it. i want to be better than that girl now, i want to push myself past this and grow from it instead of holding onto all of that anger.

maybe that’s my power, is finding the strength to want to move on and start over from square one.

and y’know, i think that’s pretty super if you ask me.

Look At Me

Look at me.
I’m the child next door.
 
Look…
…and notice… if my mother is depressed or my father an alcoholic. If I never invite anyone to my home. If you rarely see me playing outside. If I harm myself or have other obvious mental health issues. If your child has the feeling that something is wrong at my house.
 
Listen…
…when my parents fight. When they laugh at me and humiliate me. When they blame me for their problems. When my father swears at me. When my mother yells at me. When I yell back. When I cry. When I remain silent… Especially if I remain silent.
 
Believe me…
…when I tell you that it’s difficult at home. Even if my parents deny it. Even if, from the outside, we look like an exemplary family. Even if, initially, I lie to you and portray my family as a perfect one or if I invent a “worse” abuse out of fear that you may not otherwise take me seriously.
 
Don’t say…
…that it’s my own fault. That I’m exaggerating. That I’m too sensitive. Or too insolent. Or ungrateful. Or difficult. Or even uneducable. That I should be content because others have it worse than me. That my parents are just well-meaning. That you don’t want to interfere.
 
Remember that…
…maybe I’m aggressive, provocative, haughty and impertinent. Maybe I’m very withdrawn, anxious, jumpy and always obey immediately. Maybe I can’t put what’s happening into words. Maybe I don’t even know that the way I’m being treated is wrong.
 
Don’t give up…
… if I’ve built a wall around me. If it seems as if I don’t want to talk. If I give you a veiled smile and answer “Yes” to your question as to whether all is well. If it’s hard for me to gain confidence. If I apparently don’t want to alter the situation.
 
Look at me.
Look into my eyes. Listen to me. Show me that my feelings aren’t wrong. Show me that you understand me. Show me that you’re here for me. Show me that I’m not alone.
 
Help me.

Submission: The Pain Unseen

Why aren’t there songs

About people like me?

Who live deep in darkness

With a pain that’s not seen?

I’ve got brusies on my heart

Instead of arms or eyes

My depression isn’t clinical,

But comes from hearing lies

My abuse cannot be seen

Or heard, but it’s still there

So where are all the songs for those

Of us who live in fear?

Where are the songs

For the ones like me?

Where are the songs

About the pain unseen?

We are fatherless children

Whose fathers are at home

We are orphans wishing Mother

Would please leave us alone

Each day’s a sutble poison

That kills from the inside

Each night, a painful silence, lest

The monsters hear you cry

But I’m crying tonight,

For the ones like me

Because no one writes songs

About the pain unseen

I know that you are out there,

So please, send me a sign!

I know I’m not the only one

Whose heart is on the line

When nobody understands

That you don’t have a choice,

That you cannot stand your ground

Where you don’t have a voice

Why are there no songs

For the ones like me?

Our pain is as great

As that which is seen!

We are bleeding and aching

With souls nearing a break

Our one and only dream is

The one where we escape

But for now we’re still bound here

By need or hope or home,

Our desperation growing

As we feel more alone

And we look for a song

About the pain unseen

But no one writes music

For the ones like me

So our song is our screaming -

Silent verses of pain

With a chorus of praying

It won’t happen again.

The underscore is dying,

The bridge is full of blood,

The intro is our sighing,

The words, misunderstood.

My song is my poetry

About the pain unseen.

May it bring some comfort

To the ones like me.

So, you know how in Tangled, Gothel makes all those snide remarks and backhanded compliments and tells Rapunzel not to take everything so seriously because she’s just teasing?

That’s my mom. Like that’s what I grew up with. “Teasing.” Snide, snarky, hurtful remarks and if I got upset I got laughed at. I honestly several times tried to say, “To you it might be teasing but it doesn’t sound like teasing to me and it’s hurtful,” and again, got laughed at and told not to take everything so seriously.If I pushed it, my mother just told me that I was trying to make her feel bad.


It’s just interesting to me that in the movie, Mother Gothel doing this is supposed to be just this blatant show of the fact that she’s really more self-interested and cares more about herself and that’s how it comes across to the audience. “Wow, she’s really mean to Rapunzel,” kind of thing. But I grew up with that and it hurt but it was normal in my house. It hurt but I was led to believe that was because I was too sensitive, that I should suck it up and that my feelings were wrong or didn’t matter.

Like, so much of the stuff I grew up with I thought was just how families work and I’m only now slowly realizing some of this stuff really wasn’t ok and isn’t how you should treat a kid. 

You know, I could go on a whole long explanation for why I think so, but right now I’m just gonna say this: IMO, one of the most horrifying things about project freelancer was was how very practiced The Director was at psychological abuse and what that suggests about his relationship with both Allison and Carolina.

You see all these disturbing hints and signs throughout Project Freelancer. You see it in the way Wash and Carolina both echo the same line about The Director, saying (like it’s a fact) that he’s given them everything. Like that means they owe him everything. Like that’s something normal you say about your father or boss.

You see it in the way he’s careless with people’s lives and consistently puts people in harm’s way, but immediately turns it around and makes it their fault when people try to help. York lost an eye? Oh, well he should’ve been more prepared. Carolina is in agony? Well she asked for two AI so she deserves it.

Nevermind that he’s in a position of power over them. Nevermind that it’s his job to keep an eye out for them as the person running the project. Nope, The Director turns it all around so he’s never at fault. Of course it’s not–he’s just trying to ensure humanity’s survival. He’s just trying to make them stronger soldiers. There’s always a justification for his actions, some way he can make it out that he’s the better person.

It’s really fucking disgusting when you think about it. And odds are, Carolina grew up with that. Think about it: she completely and utterly fell apart when she wasn’t the best anymore no matter how hard she tried. That kind of behavior doesn’t come out of nowhere.

  • Mother: What are you going to pout all day?
  • Me: Sorry, I'm just sick of you being mean to me.
  • Mother: Oh and you're not mean to me?
  • Words I wish I had the courage to say: I am sick of your abuse all the fucking time. You yell at me over nothing or when you're mad at someone else, and then you try to justify it rather than apologising. You never let me talk about things I am passionate for. You're allowed to aim rude "sarcastic" comments at me, but heaven for bid I do the same to you. You tell me to "get over" my anxiety, you make fun of me for things I constantly tell you to stop talking about because I want to forget them. You tell super embarrassing moments to your friends and my friends, and you insist I make friends when you don't even have friends of your own. You threaten to kick me out of the house or put me in foster care, you call me names, and no matter how much I tell you I don't like it, you don't stop or apologise or take back what you said. Yes, I'm mean to you. I am so fucking tired of your abuse, but I can't leave because you raised me to be completely dependent on you so you're not lonely.
  • Me: *pouts*
Hello! Today I am posting information.

This is not my text, it is taken from: http://forum2.aimoo.com/NARCISSISTICPERSONALITYDISORDER , but it is relevant to most psychologically abusive relationships. The person does NOT have to be a malignant narcissist or psychopath to abuse you in such a way!


Because they suffer from incurable personality disorders, psychopaths repeat over and over the same relationship cycle, no matter whom they’re dating or for how long. Relationships with them are always castles–or, sometimes, marriages–built on sand. Today I’ll describe the entire process of psychopathic seduction, from its seemingly ideal beginning to its invariably bitter end.


The bond follows certain predictable stages: idealize, devalue and discard. This process may take several years or only a few hours. It all depends on what the psychopath wants from you and whether or not you present a challenge to him. If the psychopath wants the semblance of respectability–a screen behind which he can hide his perverse nature and appear harmless and normal–he may establish a long-term partnership with you or even marry you. If all he wants is to have some fun, it will be over within a couple of hours. If he wants the stimulation and diversion of an affair, he may stay with you for as long as you excite him. Despite the differences in timeline, what remains constant is this: eventually, sooner or later, you’ll be discarded (or be led by the psychopath’s bad behavior to discard him) as soon as you no longer serve his needs.

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


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

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


This raises the question of why a psychopath idealizes his targets in the first place. Why do psychopaths invest so much effort, time and energy into giving the illusion of intimacy and meaning in a relationship, given that they never really bond with other human beings in the first place? One obvious response would be that they do it for the sport of it. They enjoy both the chase and the kill; the seduction and the betrayal. They relish creating the illusion that they’re something they’re not. They also enjoy observing how they dupe others into believing this fiction. Moreover, whenever a psychopath expresses admiration, flattery or enthusiasm for someone, it’s always because he wants something from that person. I think, however, that this explanation is somewhat reductive. Many psychopaths experience powerful obsessions that resemble intense passions. Besides, this explanation doesn’t distinguish conmen, who fake their credentials and interest in a person, from psychopaths “in love,” who are pursuing their targets for what initially seems even to them as “romantic” reasons.


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


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

But at some point, when he sinks to a new low or when you catch him in yet another lie, you slip out of the willful denial which has been your way of adjusting to the toxic relationship. Because he has lowered your self-esteem, you ask yourself why this has happened and what you did wrong. If he cheated on you, you blame the other woman or women involved. The psychopath encourages you to pursue such false leads. In fact, he encourages anything that deflects attention from his responsibility in whatever goes wrong with your relationship. He leads you to blame yourself. He also inculpates the other women. He implies that you were not good enough for him. He claims that the other women tempted or pursued him. But that’s only a diversionary tactic. You have flaws and you made mistakes, but at least you were honest and real. The other women involved may have been decent human beings, the scum of the Earth or anything in between. Think about it. Does it really matter who and what they were? You are not involved with the other women. They are not your life partners, your spouses, your lovers or your friends. What matters to you most is how your own partner behaves. He is primarily accountable for his actions. Not you, not the other women.

Also, keep in mind that psychopaths twist the truth to fit their momentary goals and to play mind games. When you actually pay attention to what they say instead of being impressed by how sincere they may appear, their narratives often sound inconsistent and implausible. What they say about other women, both past and present, is most likely a distortion too. Psychopaths commonly project their own flaws upon others. If they tell you they were seduced, it was most likely the other way around. If they tell you that their previous girlfriends mistreated them, cheated on them, got bored with them, abandoned them, listen carefully, since that’s probably what they did to those women. Their lies serve a dual function. They help establish credibility with you as well as giving them the extra thrill of deceiving you yet again

So why were you discarded? you may wonder. You were devalued and discarded because you were never really valued for yourself. As we’ve seen, for psychopaths relationships are temporary deals, or rather, scams. Analogously, for them, other human beings represent objects of diversion and control. The most flattering and pleasant phase of their control, the only one that feels euphoric and magical, is the seduction/idealization phase. That’s when they pour on the charm and do everything they possibly can to convince you that you are the only one for them and that they’re perfect for you. It’s very easy to mistake this phase for true love or passion. However, what inevitably follows in any intimate relationship with a psychopath is neither pleasant nor flattering. Once they get bored with you because the spell of the initial conquest has worn off, the way they maintain control of you is through deception, isolation, abuse, gaslighting and undermining your self-confidence.

That’s when you realize that the devaluation phase has set in. You do whatever you can to regain privileged status. You try to recapture the excitement and sweetness of the idealization phase. You want to reclaim your rightful throne as the queen you thought you were in his eyes. But that’s an impossible goal, an ever-receding horizon. Every women’s shelter tells victims of domestic violence that abuse usually gets worse, not better, over time. For abusers, power is addictive. It works like a drug. The dosage needs to be constantly increased to achieve the same effect. Control over others, especially sexual control, gives psychopaths pleasure and meaning in life. To get the same rush from controlling you, over time, they need to tighten the screws. Increase the domination. Increase the manipulation. Isolate you further from those who care about you. Undermine your confidence and boundaries more, so that you’re left weaker and less prepared to stand up for yourself. The more you struggle to meet a psychopath’s demands, the more he’ll ask of you. Until you have nothing left to give. Because you have pushed your moral boundaries as low as they can go. You have alienated your family and friends, at the psychopath’s subtle manipulation or overt urging. You have done everything you could to satisfy him. Yet, after the initial idealization phase, nothing you did was ever good enough for him.

It turns out that he’s completely forgotten about the qualities he once saw in you. If and when he talks about you to others, it’s as if he were ashamed of you. That’s not only because he lost interest in you. It’s also the instinctive yet strategic move of a predator. If your family, his family, your mutual friends have all lost respect for you–if you’re alone with him in the world–he can control you so much easier than if you have external sources of validation and emotional support. Psychopaths construct an “us versus them” worldview. They initially depict your relationship as privileged and better than the ordinary love bonds normal people form. This is of course always a fiction. In fact, the opposite holds true. An intimate relationship with a psychopath is far inferior to any normal human relationship, where both people care about each other. Such a relationship is necessarily one-sided and distorted. It’s a sham on both sides. Being a consummate narcissist, he loves no one but himself and cares about nothing but his selfish desires.

If and when he does something nice, it’s always instrumental: a means to his ends or to bolster his artificial good image. Dr. Jekyll is, in fact, always Mr. Hyde on the inside. And even though you may be capable of love, you’re not in love with the real him–the cheater, the liar, the manipulator, the player, the hollow, heartless being that he is–but with the charming illusion he created, which you initially believed but which becomes increasingly implausible over time. From beginning to end, all this phony relationship can offer you is a toxic combination of fake love and real abuse. He constructs the psychopathic bond through deception and manipulation. You maintain it through self-sacrifice and denial.

But pretty soon, when you find yourself alone with the psychopath, you see it’s not us versus them, your couple above and against everyone else. It’s him versus you. He will act like your worst enemy, which is what he really is, not as the best friend and adoring partner he claimed to be. If he criticizes you to others–or, more subtly, fosters antagonisms between you and family members and friends–it’s to further wear you down and undermine your social bonds. Once he tires of you, he induces others to see you the same way that he does: as someone not worthy of him; as someone to use, demean and discard. Before you were beautiful and no woman could compare to you. Now you’re at best plain in his eyes. Before you were cultured and intelligent. Now you’re the dupe who got played by him. Before you were dignified and confident. Now you’re isolated and abject. In fact, right at the point when you feel that you should be rewarded for your sacrifice of your values, needs, desires and human bonds–all for him–the psychopath discards you.

He’s had enough. He’s gotten everything he wanted out of you. Bent you out of shape. Taken away, demand by demand, concession by concession, your dignity and happiness. As it turns out, the reward you get for all your devotion and efforts is being nearly destroyed by him. Ignoring your own needs and fulfilling only his–or fulfilling yours to gain his approval–has transformed you into a mere shadow of the lively, confident human being you once were.

He uses your weaknesses against you. He also turns your qualities into faults. If you are faithful, he sees your fidelity as a weakness, a sign you weren’t desirable enough to cheat. Nobody else really wanted you. If you are virtuous, he exploits your honesty while he lies and cheats on you. If you are passionate, he uses your sensuality to seduce you, to entrap you through your own desires, emotions, hopes and dreams. If you are reserved and modest, he describes you as asocial and cold-blooded. If you are confident and outgoing, he views you as flirtatious and untrustworthy. If you are hard working, unless he depends on your money, he depicts you as a workhorse exploited by your boss. If you are artistic and cultured, he undermines your merit. He makes you feel like everything you create is worthless and cannot possibly interest others. You’re lucky that it ever interested him. After the idealization phase is over, there’s no way to please a psychopath. Heads you lose, tails he wins. But remember that his criticisms are even less true than his initial exaggerated flattery. When all is said and done, the only truth that remains is that the whole relationship was a fraud.

The process of the psychopathic bond is programmatic. It’s astonishingly elegant and simple given the complexity of human behavior. Idealize, devalue and discard. Each step makes sense once you grasp the psychological profile of a psychopath, of an (in)human being who lives for the pleasure of controlling and harming others. 1) Idealize: not you, but whatever he wanted from you and only for however long he wanted it. 2) Devalue: once he has you in his clutches, the boredom sets in and he loses interest. 3) Discard: after he’s gotten everything he wanted from you and has probably secured other targets.

For you, this process is excruciatingly personal. It may have cost you your time, your heart, your friends, your family, your self-esteem or your finances. You may have put everything you had and given everything you could to that relationship. It may have become your entire life. For the psychopath, however, the whole process isn’t really personal. He could have done the same thing to just about anyone who allowed him into her intimate life. He will do it again and again to everyone he seduces. It’s not about you. It’s not about the other woman or women who were set against you to compete for him, to validate his ego, to give him pleasure, to meet his fickle needs. He wasn’t with them because they’re superior to you. He was with them for the same reason that he was with you. To use them, perhaps for different purposes than he used you, but with the same devastating effect. He will invariably treat others in a similar way to how he treated you. Idealize, devalue and discard. Rinse and repeat. This process was, is and will always be only about the psychopath for as long as you stay with him.