I dated a psychopath! – Recognizing unhealthy relationships & How to guard yourself

Learn how to recognize a psychopath, their characteristics and actions. See if you are at risk for being targeted and how to guard yourself against becoming a victim. Learn what happens when you are in a relationship with a psychopath, what it looks and feels like from the inside and outside. Notes from an interview with mental health professional and psychopath victim, Sara Elizabeth Brown. 

Characteristics of Psychopaths

  • they have a lot more energy than other people
  • they speak in monologue, interesting stories about themselves, people feel intrigued by them, they seem very interesting
  • they are addictive
  • smart
  • charming
  • charismatic
  • love predators
  • attack emotions, they start to manufacture emotions in you
  • they are excellent at reading people and will morph into exactly what they perceive you need and want, they will appear to be your perfect soul mate
  • progressing the relationship very quickly
  • jealous
  • extroverted
  • dominant
  • strong
  • status oriented
  • manipulative
  • doctors/lawyers


Are you at risk for being targeted by a psychopath? Characteristics of victims/targets.

  • they target people who could easily morph into what the psychopath wants them to be, people who are not strongly attached to their own identity, people who are unguarded
  • open, generous people
  • have a high moral standard, would not do to others what was done to them
  • someone who would not retaliate
  • nice, sweet
  • tend to take responsibility or take blame for things that happen even if its not their fault
  • highly empathic
  • disorganized
  • extroverted, strong
  • adventure seeking
  • did not necessarily come from an abused background, they’re are not re-enacting trauma
 Women Who Love Psychopaths by Sandra Brown

I felt like he was the one person who believed in me” -Sara Elizabeth Brown


On describing/depicting relationships with psychopaths

  • His Girl Friday (1940) really depicts what a relationship with a psychopath is really like
  • its not co-dependence and its not sex addiction
  • it actually looks like 2 strong people together, it doesn’t look like someone is a doormat
  • you will experience longing and obsession
  • you will feel repulsed and excited the entire time
  • the psychopath will positively reinforce your submission


Actions of Psychopaths in a relationship

  • The beginning (Idealization Stage)
    • love bombing
    • constant communication
    • they want to be with you all the time
    • constant and abundant affection, love, and sex
    • usually you feel like you’ve met the love of your life
    • mirroring (everything you are into they appear to be into as well)
    • everything about you is right, you feel like its too good to be true
    • you feel addicted to them, if you feel high around them, or feel like you’re on drugs around them
    • gets very sexual very fast
    • the will test and push your boundaries to see how far you will allow it, they are testing you to see if you’ll play
  • Middle (Devalue Stage)
    • their mask starts to fade
    • the psychopath will start making devaluing comments, that you will laugh off at first
    • after a while they disappear, silent treatment (the beginning of the devalue)
    • on the psychological abuse you endure whine a relationship with a psychopath
      “You don’t realize it’s happening, you don’t take it seriously”
    • you start to blame yourself for everything, you take responsibility for everything
    • negative conditioning, “they hook you into always wanting to please them, you get addicted to pleasing them”
    • they make you feel like you’re the crazy one
    • they want you to merge with them and lose your identity “That is the risk we are talking about, is you losing yourself. Its a serious risk, its a very serious risk.”
    • verbal abuse
      • ignoring you
      • gas lighting- “I think you’re imagining things, you’re blowing it up, you’re exaggerating”, it causes the victim to feel crazy, “you start to doubt your reality…which makes you more dependent on their reality”
      • triangulation- psychopath will compare you to the other women in your life
      • over talking- psychopath will wear you down by exhausting your attention, until you give up
      • they do something to provoke a reaction and then when you react they act like you’re crazy and tell you you’re being jealous, crazy, possessive
    • silent treatment
    • psychological torture
  • Final (Discard Stage)
    • the relationship ends

The stages of the psychopath relationship: Idealization, Devalue, Discard


How to guard yourself against psychopaths

  • don’t change your routine for them, anyone who tries to push you off your routine
  • your routine is your guard
  • don’t change your values
  • don’t give up on relationships with others (family and friends)
  • if someone makes funny degrading comments
  • if someone starts to make you feel crazy, they’re out
  • if someone starts giving you the silent treatment or disappears for periods of time
  • if its a maybe, its a no
  • if someone is oversharing too much
  • they’ll try to isolate you from friends and family “they’re not good enough for you, you’re so much better than them”
  • they’ll try to isolate you from everything that’s important to you
  • have a more fixed or guarded personality
  • know who you are
  • have hard rules for yourself, things you are unchanging on, “You don’t mess with my money and you don’t mess with my creative work.”
They can’t keep the mask up very long”- Sara Elizabeth Brown
Most people think of serial killers when you mention the word psychopath. It is true that most serial killers are psychopaths, but most psychopaths are not serial killers. Many are highly successful in life and business with no criminal record.

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