It’s Not You – It’s HIM

Let me start out by saying that I am by no means a forensic psychologist with a degree and years of clinical experience with psychopathy.  I am, however, a woman who ran into a really bad dude.  I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that during the year I spent with Luc I did see some odd signs – or red flags.  Sadly, some of the signs I didn’t pick up on, and others I simply ignored in hopes that things would improve and my son’s father would actually be the man I had hoped he was.

Since starting my blog, I have heard from hundreds of other women who have also run  into some really bad dudes.  While these men are different guys, and not all are psychopaths, they are all people each one of these women now wishes she had avoided.  All of them showed signs, and we all ignored these signs until it was too late.  These women are all strong women who have stood up and admitted to having ignored these signs (or completely missed that they were signs at the time), and have shared their stories in an attempt to help other women recognise when its time to RUN.  Ladies, I salute your courage and I congratulate you for leaving no matter how long it took.

If you are reading this blog entry and recognize one of the below red flag situations as similar to something that is currently happening to you in your relationship, please take the advice of many women before you – and run.


Compulsive lying:

Red Flag Story:  “One night he received a phone call from his mother.  I was sitting next to him so I heard the entire story.  He said, ‘sorry we couldn’t answer we were just eating dinner.  Yeah, we made mashed potato, baked chicken, and carrots.’ When he hung up, I said ‘why did you tell her that’s what we ate when we had grilled chicken with broccoli cheese rice?’ He then said, ‘What difference does it make?  We ate dinner, we had some kind of chicken.’  The lies continued to get worse.
My thoughts:  People who lie for the sake of lying have problems.  Luc used to lie about things that didn’t even make sense to be lying about.  Psychopaths are convincing liars because they don’t have the conscience that makes non-psychopaths feel guilty about their lies.  While it may seem like the lying is small and “no big deal” as they will claim, the root of the issue is that this person is not trustworthy and is probably also lying about things that are big deals.
Cheater: (and I don’t mean just cheating with another woman)
Red flag story:  “At 35 years old he cheated at carnival games because he ‘wouldn’t feel like a man if he couldn’t win a prize’ for me.  I hated the stupid stuffed bear, but he insisted it was for me.”
My thoughts:  This red flag goes a bit hand in hand with the compulsive liar.  Luc used to cheat at golf every single time he played.  He would brag about fake hole in ones and talk about how great he was at the game.  A cheater translates to someone who cannot lose and needs to always be the best.  Since many psychopaths have deep self esteem issues, they cheat a lot because they cannot stand feeling less than perfect.  Find yourself a good, honest man who isn’t afraid to lose a game.
Blaming other’s for their own problems:
Red flag story:  “He would always insensitively talk about most people-as if he was better than them. Even if Mother Theresa was around-he would say she was something negative. He always blames everyone else. Always. Never takes full responsibiity for his actions.”
My thoughts:  This is a big red flag that a lot of people miss at first.  Typically, this red flag plays out when your partner says or does something terrible to you (i.e. calling you a degrading name or straight punching you in the face) and then turns the situation on you and makes it appear as if you were, in fact, the real problem.  Additionally, if you run into someone who never seems to be able to apologize for their bad behavior and always finds someone else to blame for their “circumstances” – you have run into a bad dude.

Can’t hold a job:  
While several women wrote in about this particular problem, this one is quick to sum up:  If the guy has too many problems that prohibit him from finding work or keeping work (be it sheer laziness or violent tendencies), he is also not likely to be capable of sustaining a romantic relationship either.

Sexual violence/ problems:
Red flag story:  “The neighbor’s boyfriend was caught having sex with her fifteen year old daughter.  The ex tried to convince me that it was consensual, and that I was a sheltered prude who needed to up my awareness and game so that I could agree with him.”
My thoughts:  Luc was famous for using sex to control people.  He would always try to tell me that I was a prude because I wasn’t willing to get into his “fettishes” such as swinging, voyerism, etc.  Don’t ever ever ever let someone make you feel bad about not wanting to enter into some type of sexual situation with them.  If what he is asking you to do doesn’t feel right, that is probably because it is NOT right.  Sexual problems are a big red flag.  I would venture to say that most psychopaths have sexual problems that they call “fettishes”.
Extreme behavior even when there are no other obvious signs: (also known as “raging”)
Red flag story:  “My ex boyfriend burned nearly everything I owned while I was at work.  He never showed any violence before, so I gave him another chance and things went well for another couple of months….until he snapped again and dragged me across the house by my hair, squeezed the breath from my throat as he bashed my head into the wall, and shoved me off the porch.  Sometimes the signs just aren’t there, or they seem so small all the time that you don’t put them together in your head until after something bad happens.”
My thoughts:  I destinctly remember looking into Luc’s eyes and thinking, ‘wow…he looks crazy right now’ while he was in the middle of one of his rages.  Crazy men act crazy when they snap.  While they are mostly on their best behavior, there are moments when they won’t be able to control themselves and they will show you a glimpse of their true self.  When you see that scary look in their eye (or after you have learned that they have burned your stuff), you best leave immediately because it will only get worse.
Attempts to get you away from family and friends:
Red flag story:  “It happened slowly as we moved to an area that was further away from my family (I have a really close family).  He tried to isolate me by taking my car keys and ringing me every five minutes to make sure I was home.  One night, when I didn’t clean the cutlery to his standard, the next thing I knew he had slammed a phone book into me and started punching it (so he didn’t have any bruises).”
My thoughts:  Bad dudes don’t want you to have friends and they want to cut you off from your family.  Why is this?  Because when they start to beat you they don’t want you to think you have anyone to run to.  This might start out subtle, but eventually it will be obvious that they are not interested in fostering a relationship with those you are close to.  He wants to be your best friend, your lover, and your only family – he wants to own you.  Don’t let him – keep your people (friends and family) close.
Finally, by no means is this a comprehensive list of red flags.  This is simply a list of things other women have shared as red flags they wished they had seen and run from.  When you are in a relationship or considering a relationship with a man, consider both their actions and what they are saying to you.  I leave you with one final thought.  If a man says the following statement (or some variation of) run away fast before you end up in family court with him, and find yourself beating your head against a brick wall in anger:
 “I haven’t seen my kids since they were born because their mom(s) is/are crazy and kept me away from them.  But, I mean, my kids are my life.  I raised those kids, I was always there for them…”


  1. sandy pasquale on March 6, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Hera, the “extreme behaviors/rage” to which you refer is Intermittent Explosive Disorder, an Axis I Clinical Disorder in the DSM-IV. Its what I always refered to as the Jeckyll N Hyde as not knowing who/what to expect next was always lingering. The distance from family and friends was also an issue, I moved out of State he cut off the long distance phone service…the bill was in his name therefore I could not reinstate it. Acceptance of responsibility was completely non-existent as everything was always someone elses fault, namely mine. The lying and deceit incredible, he led the community and church to believe he was an upstanding citizen and business owner who had money all the while broke, abusing his wife and children at home blaming them for his downfalls in life. Porn and sex was utilized as a tool of empowerment/control, attempted rape while we were going through the divorce. I think the biggest red flag which most never hone in on would be that abuse stems larger than just physical, the unseen the most damaging and often not recognized by outsiders…the lack of empathy or remorse for harming others, true psychopathology.

  2. Catherine on March 7, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Firstly CQ, let me say that I admire you. You inspire. Truly. If it is at all possible for my deep respect and support of your life to give you even a tiny bit of energy you need to continue, then I gladly give it.

    I was in multiple relationships with bad dudes, and friends with some bad dude-ettes. In my case childhood set me up for normalizing abusive, reprehensible behavior in others’. Plus, like everyone else, I had no learning around abuse, personality disorders, or the such.

    A big red-flag that I found common amoungst every disordered individual I’ve know is the ‘instant’ connection they attempted to make with me, via ‘love bombing’. It was, in each and every case, a rush to get me involved with them, FAST. Calls, texts, emails, gifts, confessions of true love or friendship, wanting to spend every moment with me; as if I were THE most fascinating of people (I am all right!).

    This was really hard for me to resist, or even see as ‘bad’ behavior, because I was vulnerable to flattery and wanted so much to be central to another person’s life. The promise that I would be cherished by someone was irresistable to me.

    Anyone who needs to move in that fast does so because they are also going to implode really fast, they are addicted to thrills and risks, and they are impulsive beyond reason.

    All good reasons to RUN.

    • cappuccinoqueen on March 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      Christine, YES – Love Bombing is huge and both bad dudes and bad dudettes do it (I love your female version btw). When someone tries to hard to make you feel wonderful, that is something to look out for. The sad part is that after you have been burned, it is harder to take a compliment without wondering if you are being love bombed. True bad dudes, however, go overboard with it and once you have seen it…you know what it looks like. IF you haven’t seen it, it is easy to fall for it.

  3. Christine on March 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Hera, I haven’t shared much of my story with you but I’d like to give some examples of the red flags I either missed or ignored.

    LYING: The first lie I encountered surprised and unnerved me. We were together one weekend and he drove up to a Catholic church and told me he had to go inside and read the liturgy or something (I’m not Catholic so I’m not sure what it was called) because his parents would question him about whether or not he went to Church. He would read what the mass was supposed to be about that Sunday and then tell his parents he went to church and he’d have the answers to reassure them that he really did go. I remember feeling very uneasy about this and I remember telling myself that if a man lies to his mother, he’d lie to anyone, and especially to his wife. I actually confronted him about this and he reassured me by saying that his parents were control freaks and that he “had” to lie to keep the peace. About a month before the wedding I learned of a BIG lie he had been telling me. He had always told me that he was a non drinker and that he hated the taste of alcohol and that he had absolutely no vices at all. But a month before the wedding a slip of the tongue divulged the fact that he had been drinking on weekends with a friend of his. When I asked in astonishment, “What did you just say?” he thought fast and tried to cover himself by telling me that he “used” to drink but that he stopped when we met. I don’t know why I believed him. Maybe because the wedding was only a month away and not believing him would have been a nightmare. So, I married a “non-drinker” who was drinking Everclear on regular basis.

    CHEATING (and stealing): He used to talk about morality as if it were the high calling of every human being and a state of supreme being that only few (he of course was one of the few) ever attained. I truly though he was a morally upright individual because he talked about morality so much. Then we got married and I noticed that he pirated movies, and crashed security codes online so he could copy movies and games. When he started his new job a few weeks after the wedding I went to his office with him to help him unpack and set up his new office. He began unpacking boxes and they were filled with items he stole from his previous job. He smirked with glee over getting away with it and was spitting angry when I expressed astonishment.

    SEXUAL VIOLENCE / PROBLEMS: He hid his addiction to online porn from me and lied about it constantly during the marriage. He admitted fantasizing about teen girls.

    BLAMING OTHERS FOR THEIR OWN PROBLEMS (AND I’LL ADD…. CONTEMPT FOR OTHERS) He loved the term “collateral damage.” He showed nothing but contempt for people killed in war or natural catastrophes and often blamed them for being stupid asses for being in the wrong place a the wrong time. They all had it coming to them because they were stupid, poor, liberal, ugly, or not “one of us.” While dating he told me he was gifted by God Himself with “empathy” and that he wanted nothing more than to be used by God to help others (as a psychologist). I never heard a word of profanity pass his lips, UNTIL after the wedding. After the wedding his vocabulary changed dramatically. He uttered every racial slur I’d ever heard, and some I’d never heard, day after day after day. I pleaded with him to stop it and told him how much it hurt me, and how much it caused me to disrespect him, but he didn’t care. Now that he had me trapped, married, stuck; he could contain his hatred no longer. Oh, and he also had nothing but contempt for children. Everyone’s children according to him were “genetically challenged,” “ugly,” “retarded.” Oh, and remember those clients he wanted nothing more than to help with all that empathy God had gifted him? Well, after the wedding all I heard about his clients was how worthless they were and how they should all do society a favor and kill themselves.

    EXTREME BEHAVIOR/RAGING: He was not prone to outward displays of anger but he could look at you with a look that would make your hair stand on end. The first time he looked at me like that I knew I was in trouble. I can’t explain it other than to say that it’s a “cold, looking right through you, demonic, piercing, I’d kill you if I could get away with it look.” He’d shot that look at me three of four times and one day he shot it at my daughter who was about 4. She ran down the hall and into her room shaking and crying. I knew then that she had seen it too.

    ATTEMPTS TO GET YOU AWAY FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY: We were already away from family, but he alienated me from my friends by disallowing me from having company when he was home, and forbidding me to leave the house when he was home. He also alienated two of my friends because their husbands “sensed” that he as “unsafe” and they would not allow their wives to associate with me.

    KEEPING A JOB: My ex keeps a job, but he hates his job and he hates everyone he works with. They are all lower than him, worthless, no good, scum. Be careful about anyone who talks about his coworkers this way. This kind of hatred will not be contained to the workplace.

  4. ExPat on March 8, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Miss Hera, my deepest sympathies for the loss of Baby Boy. I am gobsmacked at the evil that resides in the hearts of men (women). I see myself gazing at my baby O.O. in his crib, sleeping the sleep of the innocent. I realized then the power I wielded, that I could ruin this person’s life in an instant, that anyone could. I vowed to protect him to the death. I shielded my children from people because life has taught me that anyone can be evil. That is what I learned as a child – that people who came into your family are not always deserving of the privilege. There’s a new game in town and it’s called “Stop being so bloody nice to Everyone”. We are “trained” to be polite, to deflect, to find a work-around to unacceptable situations, behaviours and people. To give others a second chance, to not judge, to make allowances. I say: screw that noise! As the other posters have stated here, when someone tries to gobble up your life, your person, your time, energy, money, peace of mind, they will extract their pound of flesh and leave you in tatters, pieces, remnants of your former glorious self. I have strived to teach my sons that this is in no way healthy, loving or pure. Run O.O.Run!

  5. Pandita on March 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

    @Catherine – SO TRUE!! The almost instant ‘You are the one I’ve been waiting for!” coupled with the possessiveness. Irritation when they don’t hear from you for a few hours or days, not even really anger, but the hyped up over concern with what you were doing, why you didn’t answer the phone, or respond to their text right away.

  6. Christine on March 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Oh, yeah. I had forgotten that red flag. Almost immediately into our relationship I noticed that he was overly concerned and even irritated if I didn’t return his almost incessant phone calls and emails immediately. I remembered feeling smothered right from the start.

    And another thing I’d forgotten. I remember one time listening to one of his phone messages and I got a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. I can’t explain it in words but I “knew” that while he was leaving that message full of “love bombing” garbage he was probably in the presence of others and was trying to impress them with his pseudo love talk. I know this sounds weird, but I just knew… and sure enough after we were married I saw him do this many times. He’d talk to me like dirt at home but when he called from work it was always, “my darling, my sweetie, I can’t wait to see you” and crap like that. A complete FRAUD.

  7. Debbie Wilcox on March 10, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Good point about the lying. When I would tackle my ex about his lying and asked him why he did it – he would say ‘because I like to lie’. He also liked to ‘gas-light’ which means he would blatently lie in my face about something we both knew wasn’t true and then try to make out I was crazy!

  8. Debbie Wilcox on March 10, 2013 at 10:20 am

    As well as personally experiencing all the ‘red-flags’ listen above I would also add another dysfunction. This one is hard to put into a categorary but can be filed under ‘doing things that no sane person would do’. In the case of my ex he hosed the inside of his car as well as the outside with water – and then became aggressive when it (funnily enough) wouldn’t start. There are various other insanities that I could mention – but I no-one else I know in my life who would do something like this. Of course his vehicle not starting was obviously MY fault. Madness just madness

    • cappuccinoqueen on March 10, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Debbie, this is a tough one. Although I get where you are going with the general dysfuntion, a lot of times this weird crap doesn’t show up right away. Or…if it does…it might seem like an odd quirk that you cannot put your finger on until you look back later and say, “damn…that was kind of crazy!” With Luc, he had a lot of these odd “quirks” or “dysfunctions”. For example, he used to play the lotto way too much and then keep the losing tickets. When I asked him why he did that, he said, “So I can claim the loss on my taxes.” Now, the crazy part of this is that he has never actually paid taxes in his life. He didn’t even file for taxes because he didn’t have a job. So why was he hanging onto these losing ticket? Well, nothing other than just plain crazy.

  9. sandy pasquale on March 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Hera, Psychopaths have tendency to keep things as trophies. Keeping these fed his ego of delusions of grandeur, he “believed” that he was a taxpayer knowing in fact this was clearly not the case. My ex was sued for $40,000 for sexual harassment-the plaintiff won but signed a waiver of non-disclosure so no one would ever know the wiser. He was manager of a major restaurant chain, had asked out one of the waitresses she turned him down. He started making sexual inappropriate gestures and comments in front of co-workers to humilliate her and at one point placed his phone number amongst her belongings, her boyfriend found it and thought she may be cheating. Soon after, she arrived to work with an engagement ring, was called “crazy” and publicly ridiculed, that same day she was fired and accused of stealing money from the register. This is exactly how Psycho’s operate, so why keep the documents (which I found)? Trophies to reminisce the premeditated, cold, calculated and methodical methods which he conveniently got away with.

  10. Laurie on March 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    When I read eveyone’s stories it reminds me of things in my marriage. When you are livng it you do not realize these things are not normal and although you feel as if something is not quite right you don’t know the extent of what’s going on. It happens gradually and while not everyone’s story is exactly the same, they do have common similarities. I didn’t know what gaslighting was until a couple years ago, and wow! A light bulb went off. Also, I sat down one day and started writing down everthing that I could remember of significance over the years of our marriage and I began to see a distinct pattern. He knew what he was doing and anytime I called him on his behavior, he would just slowly find another way to manipulate and control me. He used any manner he could to get from me what HE NEEDED. He blamed me for everything that was wrong. I also kept trying to find ways to keep him from turning into the mean person, (unconciously) for a long time. He was like two different people. I have since learned a lot about why men do this to woman. An excellent book is “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft.

    • Christine on March 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      That’s true Laurie, when you are living it you don’t always realize that you are being abused. You sense that something is “off” with the way he treats you, but his lies, his distortions, deflections, blaming, mind games, threats, intimidations, etc, cause you to question your own thoughts and feelings. If he succeeds in isolating you so that you have no one to talk to about what you are going through, that will cause further confusion because the only reality you are allowed to consider is HIS reality which is not reality at all. I finally had the courage to get him out of the house almost two years ago (the divorce was finally final in September) but I am still learning just how much power and control he had over me. And still to this day my skin crawls and the hair stands up on the back of my neck every time the phone rings because he calls twice a day to talk to the kids (this is court ordered so I can’t stop him). His voice still makes me shudder.

  11. MamaGrows on March 19, 2013 at 6:48 am

    As an ex DV counselor, I can tell you that I spent a lot of time discussing “Red flags” with my clients. This is the best list I have ever seen!

  12. Virginia on April 3, 2013 at 2:02 am

    My husband is notorious for all of the above. How do I run away from him? We have three little kids together. I am always at the brink of breaking down dealing with his abusive acts. I am already broke (no prizes for guessing how). How do I keep my children safe while we get away? I feel I need to also protect my family/friends from him so I won’t involve them. He’s a psychopath for crying out loud! He’ll find us. He’ll drag everybody else into the mess. He’ll lie they will help him. He’ll circumvent the laws. He’ll twist things. He’ll manipulate others. He’ll hurt the kids to punish me. Anything that suits him.


    • cappuccinoqueen on April 3, 2013 at 2:57 am

      Virginia, my best advice is to find a domestic violence shelter. I hope you also have family to help you out. You are right, best to get out before kids. BUT, you have three little people to protect now so if its a dangerous situation – staying is not a good option either. Be safe and if you would like to strategize specifics with more details, please feel free to email me privately. My info is in the contact section of the blog. Take care Mama. Be safe.