How to Forgive a Psychopath

If someone has the answer to that one, I hope you’ll post a comment.  Very few people get the upper hand with a psychopath, as they cover their tracks and spread more lies and engage in their smear campaigns.  They play the victim and have a grand pity party.  But once in a (rare) while, there is too much evidence about their wrong-doings that their attempts at character assassination of former victims falls on its face.

Jesus taught that an “eye for an eye” was not the right way to live.  About this teaching, one commentator wrote:

The plain instruction is, Suffer any injury that can be borne, for the sake of peace, committing your concerns to the Lord’s keeping. And the sum of all is, that Christians must avoid disputing and striving. If any say, Flesh and blood cannot pass by such an affront, let them remember, that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and those who act upon right principles will have most peace and comfort.

It’s a thorny ethical issue when one deals with a psychopath.  Forgiveness doesn’t come easy because one has lost so much and been hurt so badly, so wrongfully.  And forgetting is out of the question.

There is one person reading this who can give guidance and answers, and I hope she will respond.  In the meantime, I can only ask for prayers and offer this:

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4 Responses to How to Forgive a Psychopath

  1. Speaking from my, ahem, perspective, I think they genuinely believe they should be forgiven – they cannot comprehend that they are NOT the victim, that they have wronged another human being.

    When the grand pity party is over, they might change tack, and come to you all apologetic. But this is simply learnt behaviour – it isn’t a genuine apology. Real psychopaths do not understand the meaning of the word, ‘sorry’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • DogDharma says:

      tj, I have to agree with you. I only ever received one apology from my psychopath, and that was after the lie about owning her house. However, in retrospect, that apology was shallow and a grand piece of acting. She characterized is as “one” lie, when in fact, it was months and months of emotional torture which included a series of ever-more-ridiculous lies to cover the “one” lie, including falsely accusing other family members of things they had not done. Endless disappearances in which she’d promise that the (nonexistent) deed to her house had been FedExed, with her disappearing for days while I waited on the package, then her screaming at me when I had questions. She never had the gumption to tell me the truth herself — I found out from her cousin accidentally. It included the elaborate ruse of me paying for her to have a trip to the US to hand-carry the (nonexistent) deed to me, and then pretending her luggage had fallen open, and the deed was in her front garden — with her acting out a telephone call to her oldest daughter to go look outside and retrieve the envelope, thereby involving her children. And then her taking $200 from me (theft!) so she could have the (nonexistent) deed immediately couriered to me when she got back home.

      And of course, once I found out the truth and confronted her, it became all about HER. “I felt bad because I didn’t have anything, and I thought you wouldn’t want me.” And it came with the plea that she was “going to tell me” — yet the lie had gone on for … well, she’d told me she owned her house around the time we first “met,” probably September 2009, and I found out the truth in spring of 2011, AFTER we were married … so well over a year. She had had PLENTY of time to confess if she had any intention of doing so. So even the “I was going to tell you” was a lie! Much like the William Jordan case, who is being prosecuted in New Jersey, it made our marriage a fraud.

      And then, of course, when I had trouble trusting, it became MY fault, not hers. And yet, and yet, I did show her unearned trust by finally going on to sacrifice everything and move overseas despite it all.

      Later on, she would claim it was the “only lie” she’d ever told, when in fact, nearly everything she said was a lie. The examples are astoundingly endless. Right up to our last interaction in January of this year, when she tried to convince me she’d broken up with Claire because she “loved me” and wanted to make me think she wanted me back — but just so she could scam more money out of me. That was a lie not only to ME, but to Claire.

      Forgiveness is a tricky topic. It’s easy to forgive someone who admits they’ve done wrong and genuinely expresses regret and a deep understanding of the hurt they have caused. Much harder to forgive someone who never admits anything and shows no remorse. The one I truly need to forgive is myself, for allowing myself to be duped again and again and again, and all because I loved her so, so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. johnribner13 says:

    Personally, I don’t see how anyone could or would look to Christianity to answer any questions they might have regarding the wicked, damaged, and manipulative things people do. The entire religion seems to be based upon the concept of suffering, putting anyone who IS suffering at odds with what they need here on earth with what they’re told to do spiritually.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. DogDharma says:

    John, my vision of spirituality was upended by the entire experience with the psychopath. Before the psychopath, I would have called myself a Buddhist. Now I would call myself a Christian-Buddhist or a Buddhist-Christian. A lot about fundamentalist Christianity bothers me. Or any fundamentalist religion. Witness the troubles in the Middle East, where neither side can “forgive” or accept the other. But through the experience with the psychopath, I have learned that there is a different kind of Christianity that isn’t about judging and damnation, but about love and compassion. The world needs more love and compassion, but that clashes head-on with dealing with a psychopath, creating a huge dilemma. Yet another reason why dealing with a psychopath is so damaging and destructive.

    I am genuinely curious, with your views, where you would look for guidance in how to deal with “the wicked, damaged, and manipulative things people do”? It’s a quandary for me!


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