Are you a survivor of psychopathic or narcissistic abuse? A researcher would like to know about your experiences

Hello. My name is Courtney Humeny and I am a PhD candidate in Cognitive Science at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. I am carrying out an online study on survivors of romantic relationships with psychopathic partners. If you are interested in learning more please see the details below:

Who we are recruiting
The “Emotion, resilience, and post-traumatic growth in domestic abuse survivors” study investigates the outcome of being in an abusive romantic relationship. We are looking for participants (aged over 18) who identify as being in a prior heterosexual abusive romantic relationship. 

Abusive experiences may include verbal/ emotional abuse (i.e., bullying, manipulation), coercion (i.e., intimidation, threats, control of finances, isolation), lying and deceit (i.e., infidelities), and sexual assault. Particularly we are looking for people who identify as being abused by a romantic a partner who displays psychopathic or narcissistic characteristics.

These may include:

Pathological lying (i.e., use of aliases)

• Engaging in infidelities

• Failure to take responsibility for their actions

• Lacks empathy, guilt, and ability to feel deep emotions

• Manipulative and exploitative of others

• Sense of entitlement, grandiose sense of self-worth, or feelings of superiority

• Involvement in criminal activities 

• Impulsive and irresponsible

• Engages in risk taking behaviours (e.g., drug use)

• Being superficially charming

What your participation will involve

If you are interested in participating in the study please follow the link, which is a secure website where you will be asked to make an account with a username and password (no personal or identifying information will be asked, such as your name or address). The study will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete. The website is not compatible with mobile devices or Ipads, please use a computer or laptop.

On the secure website, you will be asked to complete a few questionnaires, a card game where you will select decks to gain as many points as possible, and a task where you will be presented a series of images of male faces and asked what emotion they are expressing.

The questionnaires will include questions on your experiences of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress, experiences of positive growth, and perceptions of interactions with other people (i.e., social support). There will also be questions addressing experiences in the abusive relationship (e.g., onset, type, severity, and length of abuse), and traits of the abuser, such as:

  • Does he or she think it is fun to push people until they get upset?
  • Has been convicted of a serious crime?
  • Does he or she think they can get what they want by telling people what they want to hear? 

Please do not participate if…
1. You identify as CURRENTLY in an abusive relationship. For your safety, we recommend that individuals currently in a relationship not participate in the current study. We worry for participants’ safety if they complete this study while in close physical proximity to their abuser.
2. We ask if you are currently undergoing or have undergone treatment for a gambling problem that you do not participate because the card game is similar to a gambling game.

Some of the questionnaires may address stressful topics. If you wish to withdraw at any time (even skipping a few questions on the questionnaires), you may do so as the study is entirely voluntary and anonymous. There will be no penalization if you decide to withdraw, no matter at what point in the study. You do not have to complete all of the study at one time; you can stop and complete the study at your convenience. There is the possibility that participation in the study may trigger or exacerbate distress.

Participation in the current study is strictly voluntary (there will be no incentive or cash given for participation).

This study has been approved by the Carleton University Research Ethics Board-A (CUREB-A) (103670). 


Copyright © 2015 Survivors Of Psychopaths. All Rights Reserved.



Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of empathy; diminished remorse, and enduring anti social and disinhibited behaviours. Psychopaths, contrary to popular belief, are not …

Source: About

The psychopathic relationship cycle: Idealise, Devalue, Discard

The psychopathic relationship cycle is comprised of three stages:

Idealise. Devalue. Discard.

Psychopaths will invariably repeat this cycle with anyone they become romantically involved with. Please bear in mind that their disordered and cruel behaviour is nothing to do with you, or anything that you did or didn’t do. It’s to do with the psychopath and their personality disorder.



From the very first moment you meet her or him, the psychopath starts to assess you. The whole time you are engaging in conversation with the psychopath they are observing you, mirroring you, and listening intently to what you tell them. You may find that the psychopath takes a flattering interest in you and asks a lot of probing questions about your life. They are very skilled at reading others and as such, they quickly figure out your weaknesses and your insecurities; your strengths and your positive qualities; and your hopes for the future. They suss out any unfulfilled needs you have, and may reveal (false) “personal” details about themselves, thus encouraging you to open up more. They find out everything that they can about you; because it enables them to tailor a false persona that they create specifically for you. Many refer to this as a mask that the psychopath hides behind – which is absolutely true. They deliberately present themselves in a way that they know you will find irresistible. This is why you initially fall for the psychopath -because (s)he seems perfect for you. They embody all the qualities that you want in a partner, and appear to be your mirror image, in a way that is almost too good to be true. They are so similar to you, and so compatible with you, and you can’t believe your luck at having found your soulmate. Psychopaths have lots of these invented personas; and they have different masks that they wear for different audiences.

As you begin to feel closer to the psychopath, (s)he will start to shower you in love and affection. The psychopath places you on a pedastal, flatters your insecurities, and focuses strongly on what they consider to be your best qualities. The psychopath appears to absolutely adore you. The sex is mind blowing and intensely passionate. They text you early in the morning, call you all the time, and maintain near-constant contact with you (be it via text, social media, or some other method when you aren’t physically together). They appear to care deeply about your welfare. You feel like royalty, your confidence is high, you are extremely joyous and happy; and you are completely swept away by this intensely exciting, overwhelmingly romantic, near magical relationship.

The psychopath hurries the relationship along, so that you don’t have much of a chance to take a step back and evaluate the situation. The psychopath engages in “future faking”, which is basically the act of pumping you full of lies and phoney promises about a fantastic future the pair of you will supposedly enjoy together. It’s like a dream come true. This behaviour of bombarding you with affection is a common and effective tactic that psychopaths use called “lovebombing”. You grow accustomed to this amazing treatment, and bond deeply with your fantastic new lover. Unbeknownst to you; this bond is one sided and experienced only on your part. It is called the “psychopathic bond”.



Once the psychopathic bond is established, and you are hooked on the psychopath, the Devalue stage commences. (S)he does not contact you as much as they used to. Their replies become colder and more curt, and you begin to feel a bit like a chore. They rarely call you by the cutesy pet names they came up with for you. You have been knocked off balance. The psychopath starts to criticise and belittle you and everything about you, even the things that they initially professed to “love” about you. These barbs usually start off as backhanded compliments, and will frequently be passed off as “advice”. The psychopath blames their deflection on you, and you wonder what you can do to fix the relationship and restore the blissful “honeymoon” period of the Idealise phase. There is a heap of uncertainty; and the relationship starts to feel one sided, as though you’re the only party who is working to keep it afloat. The truth of the situation is that when you enter the Devalue phase, the psychopath already has their Discard plans in place; and probably has already secured a new target to replace you. While you’re trying to “fix” the relationship, or “fix” yourself, the psychopath is courting others as they courted you in the beginning. It’s all about the thrill of the chase and the seduction, the excitement of creating a new mask and tricking someone else into a relationship. As far as the psychopath is concerned, your novelty value wore off a while ago, which seems insane, considering that you’re still feeling the thrill of the honeymoon period.

The psychopath will start vanishing frequently, and subjecting you to the silent treatment. The silent treatement is torture. You’ll notice that the psychopath is active online, chatting away to people, but completely ignoring you. You’ll feel as though you don’t exist, and you’ll have no idea where you stand with your abuser. Thoughts that go through your mind may include “has (s)he broken it off with me?” and “I’m not even worth acknowledging”. One of the worst parts of the silent treatment is that it tends to be inflicted upon you for little to no reason; often for a petty or imagined misdemeanour, such as “inconveniencing” the psychopath with your emotions, after they have upset you. Eventually, you learn to never disagree with your abuser, to never question their whereabouts, and to never express your emotions. You bottle up your feelings, and become conditioned to accept more and more mistreatment without protest. You become grateful for the crumbs of their company, and the psychopath will start to manipulate and control you more.

The psychopath will always dismiss your concerns and feelings as “drama”. (S)he will push you to the brink of suicide with their mistreatment and false allegations, and then tell you that you are crazy and unstable when you react to their abuse. If you call them out for blatantly flirting with others, you are branded possessive and paranoid. The psychopath will bully you and antagonize you, and then punish you for the intense reactions that they provoke from you. No matter what they’ve done, it is always “your fault”. You wonder whether there is something wrong with your lover, but then they do something so sweet that you wonder if you’re going mad. You can’t reconcile the horrible things your psychopath is doing with the image of the lovely person they appeared to be initially, and yet it’s hard to recognise them as the abuser that they are, because they don’t raise their hand to you. They may not even raise their voice to you. This is cognitive dissonance creeping in.

This sort of abuse is atmospheric, hard to explain, and near impossible to prove. When it goes on for long enough, you stop trusting your own perceptions and abilities. You become dependent on the abuser. At some point, you start to suspect that the psychopath is dating someone else. Usually, you are right to suspect this. The psychopath is always on the lookout for “fresh meat”, and may juggle many partners at once. They find this exciting. While the psychopath is spending time with you, (s)he is probably giving someone else the silent treatment, and vice versa. By now, you are experiencing extreme emotional neglect and psychological torture. The psychopath makes it plain that they have lost all interest in you, and may be withholding sex, but (s)he continues to keep you around because they enjoy stringing you along and watching you suffer. They may even be complaining about your supposed “mistreatment” of them to their new target, in order to gain their sympathy. Furthermore, the psychopath may be laying down the groundwork for a smear campaign, by telling anyone who will listen that you are unstable and neurotic – perhaps even flashing your desperate text messages as “evidence” of this.



A new target is secured and the psychopath has decided that they have got everything that (s)he can get from you. The psychopath discards you suddenly, in the most callous way that (s)he can. You are left blindsided and devastated by the sudden severing of the relationship. You are in an agony of confused bewilderment; desperately searching for answers to all your questions, and struggling to understand why the psychopath clearly hates you so much. You are shocked. There is no closure, and you can’t tell whether the relationship is really over or if this is another silent treatment. You feel empty, hollowed out, completely torn apart and shaken. You obsess about it; trying to work out when, how, and why everything went so disastrously wrong. You oscillate between hating yourself and hating your psychopath.

Your attempts to contact the psychopath are fruitless: you are now dead to him or her. It’s as though the two of you never had a relationship at all. You may see, or hear about, your psychopath bragging all over social media about how happy they are with his new target. This is gutwrenching. You are now one of their many “crazy” exes, and (s)he will happily slander your name all over town. This is called a smear campaign; and unbeknownst to you, this may have been in the works for a while. Thus, when the relationship is over, and you try to convince people that the psychopath is the crazy one, nobody will believe you…because the psychopath has been drip feeding them lies about your mental state for weeks or months. The more you plead for understanding, the more you are perceived as a disturbed individual. Your suffering is indescribable, and yet nobody seems to understand. You know that this relationship wasn’t a normal one, but the confusion that you feel in this moment is nothing compared to what happens next. Which is:

Learning about psychopathy, and coming to understand that the love of your life did not love you; and in fact: isn’t even capable of love. 


Copyright © 2015 Survivors Of Psychopaths. All Rights Reserved.

Traits of a psychopath

Traits of a psychopath

The most reliable way of determining whether somebody is a psychopath or not, is to see how they rank on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. A score of 30 or more qualifies as a diagnosis of psychopathy, but please refrain from automatically categorising someone who only meets a few of these characteristics as a psychopath. Psychopaths are not to be confused with passive aggressive personalities or other bullies.

Lack of empathy 
When I told my psychopath about a tragic event that had happened in my past, his reaction was totally inappropriate and it occurred to me that he didn’t know how to relate to my emotional pain. It was as though he just didn’t really UNDERSTAND how I felt. Generally, psychopaths understand our emotional pain in the sense that they know ABOUT it, rather than actually KNOWING it. They understand the text book definition, but they don’t understand how it feels first hand. Whereas an empathic person experiences distress upon observing another person in pain, the unemotional psychopath doesn’t feel anything at all in this situation. Psychopaths feel contemptuous towards displays of empathy and compassion from others, and they are indifferent to the suffering of others. This cold bloodedness extends to everybody around them. You may find them laughing at the misfortune of other people – mine did this frequently, and attributed this behaviour to a “macabre” sense of humour.

Shallow affect (shallow emotions) 

The psychopath does not experience a full range of healthy emotions. Their emotions are incomplete and lacking in depth. They are good at mimicking emotions; and the psychopath will initially draw you in with flattery and displays of feeling. Although these fleeting displays appear to be genuine on the surface, they are insincere and not genuinely experienced. You may also notice that the psychopath has an unnatural tendency to turn their emotions on and off like a tap. You might get this feeling that the psychopath doesn’t truly feel, or connect with, the words that (s)he is saying. Look out for peculiarities such as being incensed by trivial matters, yet appearing unmoved by things that are upsetting to a non psychopath.

Grandiose sense of self

Psychopaths are arrogant, even though they may hide this from you initially. They are not inhibited by ethics or a conscience, and they consider their lack of emotion a strength, often believing that it gives them an advantage over us “mere mortals”.

Superficial charm

Oh, yes, the psychopath can be staggeringly charming. Psychopaths tailor their actions to suit their purposes, and they know exactly how to turn the charm on in a way that will appeal to you. They are often fun to talk to; armed with entertaining anecdotes and clever comebacks that make for engaging conversation. They ask a lot of questions and subtly dig for details about you, your interests, and your circumstances. They appear to be very open about themselves and their lives. They do this so that you start to trust them, and feel comfortable in opening up to them. In the end, it usually transpires that everything they ever told you was false.

Psychopaths are pathological liars. They lie about everything and anything, and exaggerate their accomplishments and achievements. They will look you in the eye and lie to your face, and they do this with complete and utter ease. They don’t trip over their words, flush, feel ashamed, or pause for thought when you call them out on a lie mid conversation; and often brag of their ability to lie smoothly.

Psychopaths are very impulsive. They will act out their desires on a whim, for no reason other than that they wanted to. They care nothing about the consequences.

Poor behavioural controls 
Psychopaths often have short tempers that they find near impossible to keep in check. They are easily angered, frequently for reasons that make little or no sense to non psychopaths. However, their dangerous outbursts are usually short lived.

A need for excitement and a tendency to boredom 
Psychopaths need constant activity and crave thrill, excitement, and novelty. They thrive on risk taking and are easily bored. They equate boredom with death, and abhor activities that are comprised of monotonous repetition.

Lack of responsibility  
Psychopaths refuse to take responsibility for anything, even things that they are clearly responsible for. They never admit their mistakes or errors in judgement, preferring to shift the blame. They will never accept any responsibility for their role in the breakdowns of their MANY one sided relationships. They love to play the victim, and sometimes accuse their exes of abusing them. Watch out for anyone who seems to have an unnatural amount of “unstable”, ” neurotic”, or “crazy” people in their past. Listen carefully to anything a potential new partner says about their exes – (s)he will likely be saying the same thing about you one day.

Early behavioural problems 
Psychopaths exhibit behavioural problems at a very young age. It’s important to note that their history of behavioural problems in childhood is more extreme and extensive than most. These behaviours include antisocial behaviour, arson, excessive lying, theft, crime, and cruelty to animals.

A parasitic lifestyle 
Psychopaths resemble parasites in the way that they latch onto us and bleed us dry of our money, pride, joy, self respect, and peace. They feel entitled to our money, homes, possessions, and anything else that we have to offer.

A tendency to mock or belittle anybody they consider “inferior”

Psychopaths view people as tools, who are only worth what they can offer the psychopath. Imagine, if you will, strolling down a street. Naturally, you can distinguish a person you pass by from a postbox you pass by. Apart from the purely cognitive observation that the former is obviously a human being, whereas the latter is obviously an inanimate object, psychopaths can deduce no further differences between the two. To the psychopath, the person on the street has no more value than the postbox on the street. People are merely tools who exist to do his bidding.


Copyright © 2015 Survivors Of Psychopaths. All Rights Reserved.

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Copyright © 2015 Survivors of Psychopaths. All Rights Reserved.




I am delighted that you are visiting Survivors of Psychopaths. Thank you for the support!

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Please note that I am a former psychology student, but by no means am I a certified mental health professional. While I hope you may find some of my content interesting and informative, please note that you are reading at your own risk and of your own free will. My content is written in good faith for educational and informational purposes, and is NOT intended to act as a substitute for professional advice. I strongly urge survivors to seek professional therapy. Please note that you are trying out any of my advice or suggestions at your own risk. While every caution has been taken to provide my readers with accurate information, please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on my blog content.

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Copyright © 2015 Survivors of Psychopaths. All Rights Reserved.

Three common misconceptions about psychopaths

Three common misconceptions about psychopaths

Misconception: Psychopathy and criminality are synonymous – prisons are full of psychopaths! 


This just isn’t true – psychopathy frequently occurs in the absence of any criminal behaviour, and many have no history of crime or violence, but their lack of empathy and their need for control WILL result in them harming you in other ways.

Misconception: Psychopaths are insane. 


No. Psychopaths tend to be rational, free of any delusional thought, and very often appear to be “normal”. There is a huge difference between psychosis and psychopathy. The former manifests itself through a loss of contact with reality; whereas the latter does not. Psychopaths know what they’re doing, and understand that their misdeeds are frowned upon by society – but they just can’t care.

Misconception: Psychopaths can’t help the way that they act. 


Oh, yes, they can. Psychopaths understand the difference between right and wrong, and make conscious decisions to go against what is right and moral. Their disorder does not impact on their ability to make decisions. They understand the consequences of their actions, but choose to disregard them. The psychopath cares about self gratification, not societal norms or the feelings of others.


Copyright © 2015 Survivors of Psychopaths. All Rights Reserved.