Chapter 7. Escape from Jonestown

The Pretty Woman

My mommy and daddy divorced when I was eight. Mommy got to keep me and Daddy told he could not stand to see her ever again. So he went away. I don't see him much.

Granny is a lot like Mommy. They act nice to everyone and people just LOVE them. She is always so polite when people are watching. She has a honey voice. "I love you," she says to me like she means it.

Everything is Daddy's fault, she says all the time. Poor Mommy, everyone is against her. She tells me I have to stay with her, all my life. One minute, she's praising me, telling me I'm her smart baby. Next minute she's yelling at me. She tells me I'm an impossible child, I won't listen, how I don't know what I'm doing is wrong. Then she starts crying, and I feel bad.

She is never wrong. Everything bad is someone else's fault.

She always has bills that she doesn't pay. She tells me: cheating, lying, and stealing are OK as long as you get something out of it. She steals from me, says she'll give me the money back. She never does. She cries or gets mad when I ask her for it.

She stopped talking to her old friends because they don't have money to give her. Money, money, money. It is all she thinks about. She used to hit me, and threaten me with horrible diseases. "If you use the phone you'll get cancer in your brain." Or, "if you don't eat this food you'll get stomach disease and have to go to hospital." Everything I like doing is shit, for her. When I dress myself she tells me I am stupid, and she changes my clothes.

She never says "please" or "thank you" at home. She says, "do this or else!" Always "or else!" I have to go to the shops for her, do the dishes, and the laundry. Daddy once taught me to cook and she threw a rage fit. She said he was making her poor baby into his slave.

She treats me like a baby, asking "did you go poo-poo? How was it? Soft or hard?" She does this in front of my friends, in public. She tells me I don't wash, that I smell, that I'm fat. When we're with family she's always complaining about me. She keeps saying how she sacrificed her life for her poor baby.

At school they bully me a lot, and don't know how to stop it. The teachers know and do nothing. Mommy says it's my fault for not making friends. I once got sick with appendicitis. She complained the whole time I was in hospital. Daddy should have been there to look after me, she said. Then she said how lucky I was that she was there, that if Daddy had looked after me, I would be dead.

I'm sixteen now and want to leave and live with Daddy. Mommy doesn't want that. I made a friend at school. Mommy spoke to her and told her I am depressed and hysterical. My friend stopped talking to me. I don't know who I could ask for help.

The worst part is how people tell me, all the time, how amazing she is and how lucky I am. Sometimes I think I'm the crazy one, and Mommy is just trying to save me. Sometimes I want to kill myself, so I don't hurt other people like she hurt me.

I miss Daddy.

Lifting the Fog

So far I've explained the predator model of psychopathy. I've used it to draw a picture of Mallory in many different situations. If you have read and practiced the previous chapters, you are now equipped. You understand how Mallory stalks, attacks, captures, and consumes his prey. You understand how Mallory thinks. You can start to predict how Mallory will respond in any given situation.

What if you believe you are that prey? You have poured your life into a relationship based on lies. You are asking yourself, what next? When you live in a permanent fog, even small steps are terrifying.

This chapter is for you then. I'm going to explain how to lift that fog, and rebuild your life. It is not going to be an easy project. If you spent years in a relationship with Mallory, it will take you years to become whole again. My goal with this chapter is to teach you several things:

  • How to stop Mallory from doing more damage.

  • How to repair the damage that Mallory has done.

  • How to become a stronger person than you were before.

  • How to help others who find themselves in the same place.

It is not enough to remove Mallory from your life. As a victim of abuse, you are vulnerable to future abusers. You must break the cycle and use your experience to become immune to the next psychopath who stalks you.

This advice is above all meant for those entangled with Mallory. If you are reading this and thinking of a friend or relative, please give them this book. Then buy a new copy for yourself.

In the text, Mallory switches from male to female in each section. I've no agenda here except to remind you that Mallory works outside gender. She or he will use sex as a casual tool of control. Yet his or her mind operates on its own plane. You can mentally switch Mallory's gender, if that helps.

The Paper Cup

Consider a relationship as a paper cup. Most people ask, "is the cup half full, or half empty?" Mallory sees the paper cup as something to knock over. He waits for Alice to place the cup back upright, and fill it a little. Then he knocks it over again, and curses Alice for her clumsiness. She apologizes and starts again to refill it.

Again Mallory knocks the cup over, tearing a hole into it. Alice repairs the hole with tape. Mallory takes a knife and rips more holes into the cup. Alice repairs those too.

It continues like this until the cup is one huge ugly mess of tape. Alice has run out of tape several times. She has put her life savings into repairing that damn cup. And yet every time it seems OK again, Mallory smashes it to the floor.

The worst part is that Alice can't see Mallory doing this. He seems so innocent, and insistent that it was her fault. It makes her feel terrible and useless. Still as long as the cup holds water, that is what matters.

The cup is by far the most important thing in Alice's life and she does everything possible to repair it. Her friends and family keep telling her, "leave the cup!" yet she cannot. All that work! The cup is her life, she tells herself as she refills it.

Mallory's power comes from that cup and the resources Alice pours into it. He always leaves Alice a way to repair things. If she does walk out, he will do and say what he must to get her back. It ends on his terms, never hers.

If Alice does cut Mallory off, reject his apologies, and walk away, she leaves as a victim. She leaves a large part of her identity in that cup. It obsesses her, and she tries to block it from her mind. Any mention of the past brings her to tears. Her friends and family become tired of her moods and depression. She will heal, most often, yet it will take far longer than it should.

The helplessness is itself a prison. Alice never stopped feeling that the cup was important. She had to make the choice between it, and her own sanity. Her failure to make it work becomes her burden. She thinks she is a failure, doomed to be alone.

So now, consider another ending. One day Alice spots Mallory smashing the cup. Or, someone tells her what he is doing. She watches as he creates chaos, and she watches herself trying to fix it. Something clicks in her mind and she decides to change the game.

Mallory throws the cup to the floor and mocks her. She examines him and sees no love, no affection. She leaves the cup on the floor and gets back to her life. Mallory shouts at her to pick it up, and she ignores him. Or maybe, for once, she lets the anger and rage flow through her, and shouts back at him.

His power comes from her obedience. He ramps up, and tries to crush her rebellion. At first she is afraid. He does terrify her. Yet she holds her ground and keeps watching him. It takes months of confrontations, and then she realizes that he is backing down. His threats are violent and rich, yet he does not carry them out.

Little by little he loses his power over her. And she feels her power returning. She looks better. Her hair and skin are healthier. Her friends tell her how she is looking great. She meets a man at work who seems nice. It's a bit soon, she tells him, and he backs off, and they become friends.

One day, Mallory has gone. Disappeared, without a note or a trace. She isn't surprised. He's become silent, and impatient. Lots of phone calls. Other things going on. She tidies up, and whistles a small tune to herself. It's a nice sunny day outside.

The Survivor's Burden

Let's conduct a virtual experiment. Bob is in a relationship with Mallory. It has lasted some time. He worships her, and cannot see the harm she is doing to him. So one night we send in a commando team. The masked men take Bob by force, bundle him into an unmarked van, and race off. They drive to a new city, open the van door, and set Bob onto the pavement. "You're free now!" they tell him, and vanish.

What happens to Bob next? Does he thank the stars with gratitude, and find a new place to live? Does he pick up where he was before Mallory came into his life? What if Bob was in a cult compound? What if he was working for a nasty, exploitative business?

We know the answer. Bob immediately returns to where he was. Whatever was keeping him there in the first place pulls him right back.

So, we can fine-tune the experiment. We kidnap Bob again, and this time we "deprogram" him. We give him the time to kick his dependency on Mallory. We have done this experiment in real life many times, with other kinds of addicts. We cut them off from their drug supply, force them to go sober.

The result is just the same. Bob goes back to the source of his pain as fast as he can. If he learns anything, it is to avoid those midnight commandos.

This is the first problem with telling Bob to leave Mallory. He won't listen. And if you use force to make him leave, you must continue to use force to keep him away.

Let's now imagine Bob accepts your advice and leaves. Or, more likely, Mallory has used up Bob and kicks him out or walks away. Or some other crisis forces the situation to end. Bob does not walk away a healed person. Instead, he takes with him a massive burden.

The survivors' burden often translates into long-term depression, suicide, and relapse. It is not well understood, and often trivialized. I'll break it down into smaller pieces so you can see its size and shape:

  • Unresolved mental damage. Mallory has broken down Bob's sense of self. It took thousands of small transactions, each negative in a different way. Often the individual transactions look harmless. Yet the balance is real, structural damage to Bob social mind. I explained in “The Feeding” how and why Mallory does this.

  • Loss of power. Mallory has isolated Bob. Alone, Bob is and feels weak and vulnerable. He fears social contact. He stays indoors. He has nightmares, and dreads confronting Mallory on every street corner. His fear may last for years, or even the rest of his life.

  • Economic damage. Mallory has stripped Bob of his assets. Without savings, it is much harder for Bob to take risks. He avoids new opportunities. He must repay debts created by Mallory. He may end up in real poverty, and suffer the consequences of that.

  • Failure to externalize. Mallory has taught Bob that he is the guilty party, and she the victim. Bob takes this reality with him. He never understood how Mallory manipulated him. He accepts that he is a bad person, and then projects that onto any new relationship he tries to form.

  • Blaming the victim. Others explain Bob's trauma though his own mind or upbringing. They insist on putting the blame on him. You sought it, he hears. You stayed when you could leave, they repeat. He accepts the majority verdict that he chose to suffer.

  • Survivor's guilt. Bob knows that Mallory is still hurting others, while he "escaped." He feels responsible for their suffering. He gets stuck in cycles of guilt and shame and self-hate. He has difficulty in making new relationships, so remains alone. He remains vulnerable to drug abuse and suicide.

  • Shame and social stigma. Bob's behavior during and after his relationship with Mallory disturbs others. He is anxious and depressed, needy and insecure. She has blamed him in public, with lurid detail of his crimes. People consider him tainted. At least, he has bad judgment. At worst, he is the true offender.

  • Lack of alternative relationships. Mallory has cut Bob off from other people, by demanding exclusivity and attacking alternatives. A sudden rupture is like losing a bad job. The shock of being alone makes Bob vulnerable to looking for a replacement for what he knows. That is, another Mallory.

  • Lifetime risk of relapse. Drug addicts and abuse victims are at high risk of relapse, all their lives. Bob spends years looking for another Mallory. He still sees himself as worthless and her as the only person who accepted him. He dreams of the euphoria she gave him.

All these add up to one thing. Bob is in real long-term danger, and few people are capable of helping him. If he is lucky he will find a psychologist who understands the trauma psychopaths create. No-one blames children for their abusive parents. People used to blame women for their abusive partners. "She likes it," was the unvoiced verdict. Thankfully that's changing in global culture. It is still harder for men to find that sympathy.

Russia Syndrome

Some damage is forever. Lost years, money, and opportunities are gone.

Yet some damage is fixable. Of the above outcomes, the one that drives all the others is the failure to externalize. It is Alice's own view of what happened that keeps her in such trouble. All the other aspects stem from that, and reinforce themselves in vicious cycles.

So let's break this down. What key things does Alice believe about her relationship with Mallory, that are mistaken?

  • That she desired it and made it happen. Thus, she has some inescapable need to be with abusive people.

  • That she failed to help Mallory, and make the relationship work. Thus, she failed in the main goal of her relationship.

  • That people dislike her with good reason, and only Mallory accepted and loved her. Thus, she prefers her past over her present.

  • That she is weak, afraid, needy, and stupid. Thus, she will fail in any new relationship or project.

  • That she can succeed by being more like Mallory. That is, more aggressive, manipulative, and dishonest.

You can see this kind of thinking on many scales. It affects individuals, and it affects whole cultures. Look at a country like Russia and you see a nation believing all these things. It is not part of the "Russian character," if such a thing could exist. It is the result of a long history of psychopaths like Lenin.

Ask almost anyone why Russians get such bad leaders. The answer is always "because they want or deserve them." Even Russians say this, in all seriousness. I call this Russia Syndrome. For Alice to heal, she must cure her Russia Syndrome. To do this she must externalize her story, and see what actually happened. A predator attacked her, and hurt her.

I'm sure there are many ways to externalize, and cure Russia Syndrome. The fastest and most effective way I know is to confront Mallory, and defeat him. I'll explain in detail what this involves. First let's deal with the inevitable choruses of "are you insane?" When I speak of confronting abuse instead of fleeing it, I often get that reaction. The reaction comes from several arguments that appear to be wrong.

The first argument is appeal to free choice. We assume Alice can, and so must, escape. I've explained why this is a fallacy. Even if Alice realizes, "Mallory may be a psychopath," often she cannot just leave. The bonds are deep, and they override conscious decision-making. Alice may be a child, living with a psychopathic parent. Alice may share children with Mallory. Then she may face the agonizing choice of saving herself, or staying with them. Alice may live behind a wall.

The second argument is appeal to authority. "If Mallory is a psychopath like you say, then just tell the police. They will arrest him and save you." This assumes Mallory is silent and cannot tell lies that outshine Alice's truths. Which he can, and will. It assumes authority is honest and fair. It assumes Mallory cannot charm authority to get all the sympathy he needs. Authority is often more likely to punish Alice than save her.

The third argument is the illusion of safety. "It could be worse, don't provoke him." This is what Alice tells herself, over and over. Others will often repeat that. Even if Alice explains how bad things are, people may still tell her, "try and make it work." The assumption is that fighting back makes things worse.

The final argument is the assumption of immediate danger. "He could kill you, you must leave NOW!" Once the illusion of safety breaks, a panic sets in. We assume that Alice risks injury and death if she stays with Mallory. Thus, Alice must get away from Mallory as fast as she can. I'll explain why this also a fallacy, at least in most cases.

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones

We make a major assumption about psychopaths in popular fiction, and in clinical research. The assumption repeats over and over. It defines how the police and courts deal with Mallory. It defines how we try to help Bob in his struggle to free himself from Mallory.

The assumption is: the main danger from psychopaths is physical.

Yes, psychopaths can inflict physical damage to others. Between 1-2% of men and women experience domestic violence in a year. 20-25% of both genders experience it during their lifetimes. Yet this is neither exclusive to psychopaths, nor is it the worst damage they do. The assumption is almost valid, yet is not. Mallory does do real damage. Yet for every physical assault, she delivers hundreds of non-physical blows. These are emotional, social, and economic. She is much more likely to drive her victims to suicide, than to murder them. When you look at psychopathy as a disease that damages Alice and Bob, it becomes obvious. A parasite or predator must find a balance. Mallory must work in stealth. Overt activity leads to detection.

Only failed, incompetent, or damaged psychopaths resort to physical violence, let alone murder. We saw that serial killers appear to be a tiny subset of psychopaths with a specific form of brain injury. We know that the bulk of psychopaths hide all their lives in the general population. These are the successful ones.

Mallory's mask of physical threat is a convincing yet thin lie. For sure, there are violent people, and there are violent psychopaths. Mallory will be violent when it works. Yet Mallory is above all pragmatic about hiding and surviving.

The predator lifestyle is risky. A predator cannot afford even minor injuries. Non-human predators attack the weak, the immature, the old. Never a full-strength adult, capable of fighting back. A cow with a broken leg can still eat grass. A lion with a broken leg will starve. This defines the level of violence a predator will exercise. It will choose the easier prey. It will not fight another predator except to survive or reproduce. It will use bluff and noise to intimidate, yet will flee from a real fight.

And so it is with Mallory. Of course she can deal violence, if it is a matter of survival. Yet the risks are almost never worth the potential benefits. If Bob is in a cult compound or cellar, or if he is young, or old, he is vulnerable, and "confront" is bad advice. If Bob is an adult, then Mallory sees any number of ways that he could fight back and hurt her.

We have this stubborn association of psychopathy with aggression and violence. It looks like silent collective hysteria over our ancient predators. "OMG psychopaths!" I believe this is fear, not data, talking.

Why am I arguing against this assumption? Because it takes us in many wrong directions. Above all it misleads us about how to deal with Mallory and the damage she causes.

Here are some of the mistaken paths we've taken when dealing with psychopathy in the past:

  • We used violent criminals as our main source for data about Mallory. This is changing, yet it remains the classic source of data. We under-counted psychopaths, and believed most of them to be male. We did not study how Mallory hides and operates in general society. We did not look at her silent victims.

  • We used aggression as a tell-tale when looking at juveniles and families. This leads to "treatments" like medication and anti-aggression therapy for at-risk youngsters. We do not consider that Mallory learns to hide from an early age.

  • We disregard many forms violence in the home. We punish a parent for slapping a child. Yet we tolerate Mallory's long-term emotional abuse and neglect of those around her.

  • We often ignore the victims of abuse unless there is provable physical violence. Law enforcement and courts tend to dismiss other forms of abuse, if home life looks "normal."

  • We do not intervene in obvious cases, such as cults and other abusive organizations. Again, we assume that adults are capable of defending themselves. The State only intervenes when there is serious injury or death, or there are young children.

  • We hesitate to apply the "psychopath" label, since it brings such negative connotations. That means we strive to treat Mallory the same as we treat Bob. This doctrine of equivalence leads us to assign blame to both parties.

  • If we do conclude, "Mallory is a psychopath," our reaction is hysteria. We in effect scream "run away!" at Bob, as if he was not already doing his utter best. We have no tools for understanding how Bob got to where he is and why he stays there.

  • We assume the risk from a psychopath is physical. That is, if Mallory has not yet hurt Bob, so far so good. We tell him to leave, and we hope she does not murder him in his sleep.

  • We assume that leaving removes the risk. If Bob does leave, we expect him to resume normal life. If he remains depressed, we blame him. If he does not recover, we abandon him. If Bob does not leave Mallory, we assume he's staying by choice. Again, we blame him and in the end we abandon him.

  • We may provide support to Bob, yet only if Mallory used physical violence. Alice may find help if she turns it into an issue of women's rights. If Bob asks for help for emotional abuse, he will find a stone wall, even mockery.

I've explained how Mallory hides and operates. I've explained why Alice and Bob are normal people who get caught in a trap. Why they stay put. Why they seem to accept their situation. I've explained in detail, every single step of the process, from both sides. It is clear that Alice and Bob lose control over their lives quite early on in the process. If they stay with Mallory, it is not from free will.

I've also explained the damage that Mallory does to Bob and Alice, and how deep it goes. I've explained how and why this can end in depression, self-harm and suicide.

Let's assume you are Alice or Bob. I've shown Mallory to be a slow predator who uses mind-control techniques. She uses these techniques to isolate, restrain, and silence you. The next step is to explain how to undo these techniques and fix your Russia Syndrome.

Four Steps to Freedom

Undoing Mallory's damage is a slow and delicate process. I'll break it into four steps to make it easier to understand. These steps are: Diagnose, Observe, Inhibit, and Terminate. You can remember these steps with the acronym DOIT:

  • Diagnose: where you ask the question, "am I dealing with a psychopath?" and come to a "yes" answer if that is the case.

  • Observe: where you learn to observe Mallory and keep notes. The goal is to decode his behavior and understand how he has been controlling the situation. You move away from cooperation, and towards passive resistance.

  • Inhibit: where you learn to recognize and block Mallory's patterns of control. Mallory depends on you to keep repairing the cup. You stop enabling him, and then move towards active resistance.

  • Terminate: where you take back control of the relationship, and then end it on your own terms. You understand that there is no cup, and never was.

Before we start, please realize: this takes time. You need to make time to repair your life. It takes time to learn and understand new ideas. It takes time to apply these to your relationship with Mallory. It could take six months, a year, two years, or longer. It depends on how deep the damage is.

Let me explain what you have to abandon, as possible outcomes:

  • You will not get sincere remorse, ever. If you need this to move on, learn to stop needing it.

  • You will not get the love, money, power, or whatever else Mallory promised you.

  • You will not get your money or time back. Accept the losses, and look ahead, not back.

  • You will not get a deal, or compromise, or negotiated settlement. Every deal is a lie.

  • You will not change Mallory, nor help him, nor cure him, nor punish him.

And what you can expect to achieve:

  • You can change Mallory's behavior towards you or a group, by changing how you or a group treat Mallory.

  • You can force Mallory to leave you or a group alone, by making it expensive and risky for him to stay.

  • You can staunch your losses of money, time, and resources, by refusing to give in to Mallory.

  • You can take full control of your relationship with Mallory, by seeing it for what it is.

  • You can block and disable Mallory, even to the point where he cannot hurt others.

  • You may be able to salvage pieces of whatever projects you were investing in.

  • You can learn deep and useful lessons about your own and others' psychology.

  • You can externalize your story and understand what happened.

  • You can help others move through the same process as you.

Be explicit in defining your goals, both to yourself, and to others. Once you write down your goals, you can measure your progress over time. This will help you during the many moments when you doubt yourself.

We covered Diagnose in “Hunting Mallory”. Now I will explain the other steps.

Observe and Record

A main goal of every abuser is to teach the victim that there is no abuse. "This is normal," goes the refrain. "And if anyone is crazy or abusive, it is you." From the outside, to accept this seems insane. For the victim, trying at all costs to make things work, it is rational. Take the blame, apologize, and keep trying to fix that cup.

So asking the question, "Am I dealing with a psychopath?" is a major step in itself. Yet what comes next is delicate. If you recognize yourself as the victim, then you have the right, even an obligation, to free yourself. You cannot wait or hope for a formal diagnosis of "psychopath" from a psychologist.

Yet outsiders will not leap to your understanding. They will see you as unstable. First you insist the relationship means everything to you. Then you accuse the other person of being mentally ill, or worse. "Psychopath" is only one step away from "serial killer" in most peoples' minds.

Mallory always deflects blame onto his victims. He does this well. He ensures that they look guilty, angry, and unreliable. In any situation of conflict, people are likely to trust his explanations. They will absorb his stories and reject those of his victims. The facts don't matter unless there is video or paper proof. I cannot stress this enough. It catches even professionals who deal with psychopaths every day.

If you are Mallory's victim, telling people "he's a psychopath" will tend to work against you. It is like pulling out a knife in a gun fight. If you are trying to help someone else, the same applies. It is far better to document events as they unfold, and let others draw their own conclusions. Sooner or later, careful documentation always beats charismatic story telling.

You're looking for:

  • Evidence to disprove your insight. If the hypothesis is wrong you want to know as soon as you can. You want to find the real culprit, if any. You want to find other ways of dealing with the situation. For example, if someone is mentally ill, they need help. If they are a psychopath, their victims need help.

  • Material evidence that you can use in a conflict. Such evidence must hold up in court. What that means depends on where you live. Video is good, audio recordings often less so. Phone calls and emails are usually good. Police reports and witness statements are good. You can talk to a private detective. They deal with a lot of psychopaths, and know the laws for evidence gathering.

  • Insights into what Mallory is doing, and how. I'm not suggesting you bug his email and mobile phone to track his location and chats. That is most often illegal unless the phone is yours, and you install an "anti-theft" app. Yet if you do, it can be enlightening.

  • Observations about Mallory's behavior, for your own benefit. To confront and beat him you must know his game. You must understand every one of his moves, and know how to respond in each case. "Confront and beat" sounds dramatic. Yet Mallory never takes a holiday. Every time you interact with him he is pushing you.

I'll discuss evidence collection later. Let's focus on the last aspect first, which is to learn Mallory's moves. This takes time yet is easier than you might think. Psychopaths all seem to work the same way. If you watch one, you are watching them all. If you can understand one, you can understand them all.

This is why hunting Mallory is so valuable. Every time you cross paths with a psychopath, if you are alert, you learn something useful.

Observing Mallory is like watching wildlife. You choose your place and time, and do your research. Dress right, and blend in to your surroundings. Be calm and still and wait. Approach your subject with care, or view from a safe distance if you can. Identify behaviors as you observe them, and note behaviors that are new to you. Above all, use a journal:

Note the types of creatures you see and their characteristics, and jot down what they are doing and where. Make sketches or take pictures and paste them into your journal. Once you return from the field, review your journal and do some more research to answer any questions that came up during your observations.

You can observe Mallory from different angles:

  • How she interacts with groups. This is easiest to see, yet incomplete. It is a good place to start. You can see Mallory's narcissist mask, how she charms and bullies the others. You should always watch the others' responses. Mallory is the one controlling things. She may be active in the group. Or, passive, ignoring the group to break their mood. She triggers, they respond.

  • How she interacts with individuals in public. Again, easy to see yet incomplete. You will see Mallory's narcissist mask again. More, you can see the other person's mood and body language. Do they look lost in love? Desperate yet frustrated? Silent and broody? Quiet and subdued?

  • How she interacts with individuals in private. This is the best data, and also the hardest to get. It takes time and luck. Mallory is paranoid and secretive. Technology can help, if you have the skills or can find someone to help you. Or, you may talk to Bob and Alice and get their stories. These will be selective and distorted, yet useful.

  • How she interacts with you. If you are in a relationship with Mallory, the data is all there. Your view is selective, rationalized, and distorted. It is still worth taking notes. Your journal becomes a long term memory. It lets you capture conversations or events that are so unreal you soon forget them.

The Resistance

The goal of Inhibit is to block Mallory's patterns of behavior. The abusive bond is a curious thing. Even though one party seems in control, the other must cooperate. This is the "enabling" we see in psychopathic families. When Mallory is in a marriage with children, her spouse often acts as enabler. He excuses Mallory, hides conflict from outsiders, and tells the children "it is normal."

Individuals enable their abuser when they normalize the situation. In my Paper Cup story, every time Alice resets and repairs the cup, she is trying to make things "normal" again. This is how she enables Mallory.

To inhibit is to disable, making it more and more costly for Mallory to rule. Inhibiting works both in solitary relationships, and in group settings.

We can break down Inhibit into separate actions. Each of these addresses a different aspect of Mallory's behavior. I'll summarize these:

  • Redefine the Narrative. Mallory depends on her false Narrative. You replace her broken promises with a more accurate model of your relationship.

  • Fix the economics. Mallory depends on you refilling the cup every time she demands it. You stop doing that, and staunch the loss of money, time, and other resources.

  • Collect evidence. Mallory depends on privacy, your poor memory, and your forgiving nature to distort history. You repair that by keeping a journal and collecting material evidence against her.

  • Provide subtitles. Mallory depends on her charm and fluid lying to confuse others. You prevent that by explaining to others what Mallory is doing, and why, as it happens.

  • Create consequences. Mallory depends on your fear to escape serious consequences. You train her to understand you are willing and able to create real problems for her.

Redefining the Narrative

I explained in “Attack and Capture” how "every psychopathic relationship has the same structure. At the heart, Mallory places a core of lies and promises... The Narrative." To untangle your relationship with Mallory you must decode and redefine the Narrative.

It can be difficult for so many reasons. The Narrative usually has elements of truth. These are small, yet real, and Mallory uses them to push through larger packages of lies. They're hard to discredit because we so want to believe.

Let me give some examples of Narratives, to draw you a clearer picture:

  • Mallory has caught Alice in a relationship. He tells her over and over, "you are naive and over-sensitive, and you overthink." He shakes his head with concern: "You need professional help." The first part may be true. She accepts that and finds it hard to challenge the rest. He succeeds in undermining her and keeping her dependent on him.

  • Mallory is taking money from Bob, using sex and emotional violence to keep him hooked. The Narrative is, "you want me because I'm a difficult woman. Surviving me makes you a powerful man. Keep giving me expensive gifts and I will be yours." The first statement is true. What follows is false. Mallory is cheating on Bob, wasting his money, and will leave him as soon as she can move to a wealthier contact of his. She is not the trophy. He is.

  • Mallory has convinced Alice to become her house slave. Alice works for free and Mallory bullies her into thinking this is normal. The Narrative is, "I paid to bring you to this country. I am now your family and you must do what I tell you to. Obey and I will protect you." Again, the first statement is true and the rest are lies. Mallory will abandon Alice on the street without papers or money as soon as she becomes too large to lock up.

  • Mallory has convinced Bob to join his project. Bob is working unpaid and Mallory demands more and more from Bob. The Narrative is, "this is an important project. You are serving humanity. I am your glorious and infallible leader. If you suffer, that is normal." The first statement might be true. Mallory is good at finding causes. The rest are lies. Mallory will steal Bob's work, drain him, and blame him for any failures.

  • Mallory has convinced Alice to move in together. She invests her savings, and they plan expensive renovations together. The Narrative is, "this is our house. You are investing in our future. I will be a loving and caring husband. If I'm sometimes moody, it is your fault." Again, a truth followed by lies. Alice will go bankrupt before she wakes up. Mallory invests little if anything, and has cheated on her nonstop.

To untangle the Narrative, there is a small yet powerful mantra that you use. You repeat this to yourself whenever you look at past, present, or planned events. The mantra is: "Mallory is lying."

Not now and then. Not maybe. Almost always. You must assume that every statement Mallory utters is false. He may sometimes tell the truth. That is accidental and irrelevant. When it mattered, and often when it did not, he lied and lies and will lie.

This takes practice. We tend to assume innocent till proven guilty. You need the opportunity to watch Mallory as he talks to you, or others. You feel his sincerity like a warm glow. You hear his words. You watch his face. Now you repeat your mantra: "Mallory is lying."

You may ask why he is lying, or how he can lie so well. There are answers, which I've already provided. He lies to bullies people into accepting his authority and to deflect blame. He isn't inventing, when he lies. Instead, he is the sincere teller of a story that happens to be false.

The power of this mantra is that it forces Mallory to work harder. It works especially well in a group. Mallory's aura of sincerity is like a diamond: hard yet fragile. If you can prove a single lie, then you can teach others the same mantra. From then on, the Narrative starts to fall apart.

If you are alone with Mallory, you must put yourself outside the Narrative to see the lies. This is difficult. You must want nothing, and believe nothing. That means switching off all the responses that brought you to this place. It means accepting that you have lost your investments. It means there will be no more sex, no money, no power.

Once you can see the lies, the next step is to see the truth. What are Mallory's real intentions? The sad thing is you already know them. They are your deepest fears, the ones you've pushed aside since the first day. Mallory wants to use you then throw you away. He means to use your network to climb up the social ladder. He intends to empty your savings, and those of your family.

Mallory cares about one person, himself. He will do whatever benefits himself, without limit and without remorse. If he is not worse it is because that would be counter-productive. Your relationship is a sham. It is window dressing to hide the crimes.

Can it be so simple and so calculated? Yes, it can be, and it is.

So now you have a new Narrative. You could never have made the relationship work. Every time you invested in it, you made it worse. Good intentions pave the road to hell. You fed him and reinforced his bad behavior. So now you have your next action. You stop feeding Mallory.

Fixing the Economics

Even if you do not base your life decisions on economics, Mallory definitely does. She does play with people for practice. Yet when she creates an extended relationship, it is for her profit. Unlike a win-win social relationship, Mallory always builds win-lose relationships.

You should be able to measure how much it is costing you to give Mallory her profit. You can count your time, money, goodwill, and the cost of lost opportunities. It is worth putting a dollar figure on the damage, if you can bear to do this. Mallory has worked hard to make you undervalue yourself, so don't be shy about adding zeros. It is not for a court, just for your own sanity.

Your next step is to close the taps. I call this "disabling." There is passive disabling, and active disabling. Use both, as you gain confidence and courage.

Passive disabling has a mantra. This is: "Every request is a test, and the answer is always No."

Mallory has a classic pattern of extracting resources from you. First she asks for a small favor, something small and innocent. This aligns you towards liking her, the Ben Franklin effect. Then she creates a problem that she cannot solve, and leaves it on the table for a while. Then she comes with a solution, in the form of a larger favor you must provide. If you do not agree to the larger favor she gets angry and brings the relationship to crisis.

By refusing the small favor, you break the pattern. Mallory has no backup. If she creates a crisis over a marginal issue she looks unstable. If she asks again you just refuse again. If she asks for something different, you refuse again.

You can refuse in different ways. An outright "no" is fine, if you can find the confidence. Or you can say "I'll try" and then fail to deliver for random, complex reasons. Pretending to be incompetent is less healthy than rejecting Mallory's request outright. Yet it can be more fun, as Mallory has no tools to deal with such trickery.

When Mallory threatens you, observe and take notes. Compare her threats to her actual actions. You will see that she rarely if ever does what she promises. If she does use violence, she gives no warning. When she uses violence, document it and use that against her. Emotional and psychological abuse are notoriously hard to prove. Bruises, bites, and broken bones can end in criminal charges.

Active disabling also has a mantra. This is: "If it is not locked down, expect to lose it."

Once you recognize Mallory, you must assume she will take whatever she wants. This means money and assets, for sure. It also means contacts, employees, documents, secrets. She may explain this using "yours, ours, mine" logic. Or she may deny it and blame someone else.

You must consider what assets you have that Mallory could divert. If you are business partners, and you are not in full control of money and decisions, abandon it. If you own property together, consult a lawyer. If you have joint accounts, close them. If she has access to your credit cards, get new ones. If she knows your passwords, change them. If you are a co-parent, keep the passports for your children locked up.

If you live with Mallory you must be careful and somewhat paranoid. Since she is opportunistic, this means locking things up. Do not be shy about using large locks, and hide the keys well. Do your research on identity theft. She may fake your signature and take out loans in your name. Assume she steals your post.

If she knows her way around computers, assume she tries to hack your computer and web accounts. Lock your PC screen when you are away. Use extra "two-factor" security on your web accounts. Do not let her borrow your phone. It takes only a few minutes to install spyware on a phone.

If Mallory is in your social circle, leave no money on the table. Expect her to use your friends and contacts for her own benefit. Warn them, and keep your most important contacts away from her. It is far better to warn your contacts about Mallory than to expose them to her.

When you start disabling Mallory, she will get hungry. This makes her more aggressive, and scarier. Yet it also makes it much easier to expose her. As you secure your boundaries, you can see when she violates them. This brings us to the next action, which is to collect evidence of her violations of norms and laws.

Collecting Evidence

Mallory is a genius at using rules the wrong way. "Here are these complex rules which apply to you, yet not to me because I'm special," he says. It is strange how few of us question such unfairness. Perhaps we've learned the habit of lopsided obedience from school and work.

Good rules are simple, and apply to everyone in the same way. Luckily, no matter what Mallory claims or argues, most of society works this way. So if you document his rule violations over a period of time, that gives you real power. Again, this does take time, and patience.

What "material evidence" means depends on your case, and whether you expect one day to show it to a judge. For criminal or civil cases, learn the rules of evidence for your jurisdiction. In general, evidence must be verifiable, and you must collect it using legal means.

If you are in a serious conflict, speak to a private investigator as well as a lawyer. Collecting evidence is an investigator's main job. They will explain the rules and perhaps help.

Here are some hints for collecting evidence:

  • Email is excellent as evidence. It is hard or impossible to fake and a service like Gmail does the backup for you. Again, care for your passwords. Print out any critical emails and store in a safe place.

  • Use email to confirm agreements with Mallory. "Just to confirm, we agreed that..." Ask Mallory to correct you if you misunderstood. This gives you a written trail.

  • Video recordings are good evidence in most courts, as they are hard to fake. If you need to prove a history of verbal or physical abuse, video is one of the best tools. You can use your smartphone, or small hidden video recorders.

  • Audio recordings are poor evidence in most courts. They can be good material in non-legal situations. They are easy to make, and share. Just use your smartphone's voice recorder. You can buy small, cheap USB pen recorders online.

  • Phone calls are better evidence than audio clips, if you use a call recorder on your smartphone. Tracking caller ID and date and time provides a good record.

  • Before you record Mallory at all, learn the law. You could be committing a crime if he did not consent. It depends on the jurisdiction.

  • If there are neutral witnesses to an event, try to get a signed and dated statement from them. Make a digital copy and back that up.

  • Label your digital copies, and keep them safe and backed-up. You can use a cloud service like Dropbox though be paranoid about your passwords.

  • Assume that Mallory is more paranoid than you, and will guess when you are recording him. You can turn this to your favor. He tends to behave much better when he thinks others are watching.

Going to court is an extreme and rare outcome. The main value in collecting evidence is more banal. As you build a file on Mallory, two things happen. First, you feel your power returning, and Mallory's power weakening. Mallory also feels it. Second, you begin to understand Mallory's deceptions as they are happening. You begin to learn his patterns. You can predict his next moves.

Providing Subtitles

Over time you have learned Mallory's patterns. You will start to predict her behavior. By explaining what is going on, and predicting what will happen next, you can stay grounded, and help others. You reduce the risk of getting caught in old narratives. I call this "providing subtitles."

Mallory acts like a chaos machine. She seems to show mad mood swings. She will be calm and relaxed one day, vicious and paranoid the next. It can look like a disorder. Anyone who sees this and isn't familiar with it will ask, "what drugs is she on?"

The simplest explanation isn't drug abuse nor a mental disorder. What seems like instability comes from two main factors. First, she gets into schemes and plots that she keeps hidden from you. If she appears calm it's because her focus is somewhere else. When these schemes turn sour, as they often do, she attacks anyone who gets in her way. That will be you.

Second, she responds to displays of weakness with aggression. And what social humans consider "being nice," Mallory considers "being weak." She also responds to anger with fury. Mallory responds to any display of emotion with her predator emotions.

This creates chaotic feedback cycles so that there is no stability. This sounds terrible, and it can be. Yet we can now predict the weather, from day to day. By warning others in your group, you help them take distance when the inevitable happens.

As you see Mallory manipulate others, you can explain:

  • She's making promises she has no intention of keeping. She wants you to be off your guard. Get ready for the inevitable excuses.

  • She's said something tangible. It is a lie. She's hiding something or trying to confuse you. Make a note, and we'll see the lie exposed later.

  • She's making accusations. She's afraid of something and is attacking as cover. Note her accusations, she's talking about herself without realizing it.

  • She's asked for something small. She's nudging you to face the right way. If you give it to her, she'll attack you and demand a larger service.

  • She's making threats of retribution. She's pushing you to do what she wants. She's bluffing. Note it, and you'll see. She won't dare. Her threats are things she is afraid of.

  • She's intimidating you with verbal abuse and lies about your behavior. She's trying to make you afraid and insecure. Don't let your fear control you.

  • She's playing nice, offering attention and gifts. She is trying to make someone else jealous. She wants something from you. Refuse the gifts. Tomorrow she'll be abusive again.

  • She thinks you are against her. She will try to intimidate you with a violent monologue. Then she will make peace and offer you a token present. Then she will demand that you do things for her. Then she will ignore you again.

A good subtitle explains Mallory's motivations and makes predictions about the outcome. The listener can then use this to build their own model of Mallory's behavior. You cannot assume everyone has read this book.

Create Consequences

As you begin to inhibit and disable him, Mallory becomes more hostile. He realizes what you are doing, and guesses the worst. He is paranoid. He decides you are a real threat, and so he attacks you.

He starts to slander you with detailed stories of your crimes. When he tells these stories to an unaware audience, they believe him. You find people upset with you for mysterious reasons.

In extreme and rare cases Mallory accuses you of criminal acts. He gives the police detailed statements to try to incriminate you. You find yourself questioned. Such accusations and situations are frightening. Yet most police forces do not give unsubstantiated accusations much weight. There are troubling exceptions in some regions. A woman's claim of abuse against a man may be taken as "true by definition" in some places. Be aware of this risk.

You must expect such attacks and remain calm if they happen. Take it as a sign of progress. The stakes are rising, and Mallory is taking more risks.

Material evidence is your insurance. You have proof that Mallory is a consistent liar. You have proof that he is a persistent rule breaker.

Your next action is to teach Mallory one simple lesson. It is: if he misbehaves, you will create consequences for him.

Keep in mind that Mallory has no fear of punishment or authority. He has always charmed and lied his way out of trouble. "You will get into trouble" is not a significant threat. He bluffs when he makes threats, and if you make a threat he assumes you are bluffing too.

So you must act, not threaten. You must create a cost for Mallory, and prove that you can and will repeat this as long as needed. The cost must always be a consequence of his behavior. That leaves him the choice of actions.

The consequence that hurts Mallory the most is exposure. Yet recall what I said about shouting "psychopath." Do not diagnose. Provide others with concrete evidence, and let them reach their own conclusions. Let them think of others they've known in the past. Let them paint Mallory with their own dark memories.

When you respond, do so with care and provide the minimal material evidence needed. It is tempting to make a dramatic exposure that will discredit Mallory for once and for all. This is a bad idea. It will not be over in one go. Play only the cards that you must, to win each round. Keep Mallory guessing and paranoid.

If you have evidence of criminal acts, do speak with a lawyer. You may be assisting a crime if you do not report what you know. As always, do your research and try to talk with other people in your situation.

Liberation Day

The next stage is to take back control of your life from Mallory. Then you must end the relationship. If you see Mallory as an occupying power, this is the invasion and liberation. It can get messy. It will take time and patience. Yet this is how you regain your power, and heal.

Let me break down Terminate into separate actions. Each of these gives you more power and independence:

  • Control your emotions. Mallory uses terror tactics to keep you silent and compliant. You learn to recognize your emotions and not let them control you. I covered this in detail in “The Dance of Emotions”.

  • Regain control. Mallory likes to steer conversations and interactions, getting you to react. You turn this around so that you decide when to talk, about what, and for how long.

  • Build alliances. Mallory works by dividing people and conquering them one by one. You create a united front among all those affected, to take power back from Mallory.

  • Invest in self. Mallory attacks your self-image and sense of worth. This means you see no alternative to the relationship. To counter this, you create alternatives and build up your inner strengths.

  • Move to exit. You now end the relationship, on your terms. There will be no negotiated settlement. Mallory must become history, one way or another.

None of these are one-day exercises. It all takes time. During that time, as Mallory realizes what you are doing, she will attack you. Few threats are as real to Mallory as a person determined to unmask him. And when she sees danger, she reacts with dramatic force. You need to learn to keep your nerve and not buckle. Remember what I said about predators being more bluff than bite.

Regain Control

By now we are moving to active resistance, and towards taking control of the situation. Psychopaths have specific weaknesses -- like their paranoia -- that you can learn, and then use.

They are arrogant and their superiority complex makes them careless. They are not used to any form of attack or active resistance. They often respond in dramatic and stupid ways. They tend to repeat the same responses over and over. Psychopaths are like actors: creative in a dramatic way and yet unable to see beyond their stage.

You have stopped reacting to Mallory's provocations and promises. You've started to decode his motivations and techniques. You've felt your power returning. The next step is to take the lead, in your relationship with Mallory.

Start with conversation. This is Mallory's main tool for manipulating you. Learn to control the start and end of every conversation. Choose when to talk and choose when to stop talking. If Mallory tries to start a conversation, you "have things to do." If Mallory forces his way into your space and begins making noise, you ignore him. If he insists, you leave.

Next, set the tone of any exchange. You can be friendly and generous, or cold, or outright hostile. At all times, be deliberate and conscious of your words and emotions. Learn how to control the direction of discussion through your own emotions. You will see that generosity or hostility both tend to provoke aggression. Try to see humor in the situation. How does Mallory respond when you mock him?

In face-to-face discussions, use a hidden audio recorder if you can. When you catch something valuable, save the recording. In written discussions, realize that every word you say is open to scrutiny.

If you cannot end a conversation, you can still control it. Let's look at two techniques: chaffing and provocation. Chaffing is to overload Mallory with irrelevant detail about random topics. Provocation is to goad Mallory into idiocy or violence, and then record him.

Chaffing disrupts Mallory's ability to manipulate you. He works with averages. He knows how you, and others, respond in conversation. He thinks several moves ahead, like a chess grandmaster.

Is he trying to get you to talk about your work? Spend half an hour telling him about the traffic, and the road works, and the weather. Then switch to cheese. Then discuss politics. Try to feel sincere about the topics.

When you leap around in unpredictable directions, he loses his focus. He starts to feel blocked, and will withdraw. He doesn't enjoy playful banter.

Provocation sounds dangerous, yet as I explained, Mallory is a creature of bluff. Your goal is to kick off his visceral response, and to record it. One easy way to provoke him is to say "no" to a request, without explanation. Just refuse, turn and walk away, and switch on your audio recorder. Five minutes later you'll have a violent outburst.

You can also accuse Mallory of violation of whatever social contracts they are breaking. Threaten him with exposure. Again, walk away, start recording, and wait for Mallory to come back. You will often get only one chance, as the next time, Mallory will have a story to answer that accusation.

In such a confrontation, you must control your emotions. Mallory will shotgun accusations and slander against you. He'll pick up on any reaction, even the smallest one. Expect hurtful accusations, and when they come, just count them.

You can, in extreme need, provoke Mallory to criminal physical violence against your person. You can trigger his fury easily, until he realizes what you are doing. Your goal here is simple. You need him to hurt you and leave traces. Then you get a medical certificate of bruises or wounds. And then you make a formal complaint to the police. This should lead to Mallory's arrest and prosecution.

Do learn the law, and understand what counts as assault. I can't recommend this except as a last resort. The risks are high. You can be badly hurt, and it is hard to restrain yourself from fighting back. Yet "convicted of domestic violence" is difficult to shake off. Ask Chris Brown.

Build Alliances

Alone, you're vulnerable against a professional manipulator. When you have the support of a group, confronting Mallory is easier. If a group rallies against a bad actor in their midst, the game is over.

Mallory knows this. She sees a united group as a bad thing. She works hard to divide the group and keep individuals fighting each other. If or when she sees you are a risk to her, she will aim to turn the group against you.

You have to expect this, and prepare for it. Your advantage is in moving before Mallory realizes what you are doing. By providing subtitles, you inoculate the group. When she does act, it then plays against her.

Ask yourself what is the worst possible thing she could say (true, or false) about you to others. Assume her goal is to have you discredited, ejected, arrested, or hurt. Mallory may often be shy of using physical violence herself. Assume she is not shy of using others.

She prefers to talk in secret, so she can weave her spells of promises and lies. It is harder for her to control a room of people not already charmed or intimidated.

These are the opportunities you have:

  • Mallory prefers to works on one person at a time. She switches between people so fast it looks like she is covering them all at once. Yet whenever she's busy with one individual, she ignores all the others. You can work on groups: you don't need one-on-one diplomacy. If you have solid evidence of a crime or lie, you can spread that to many people at little cost.

  • Most people, in most cases, will be receptive to such a message. We usually have a skeptical voice in our heads warning us that the situation is not "right." It is a matter of finding and talking to this voice.

  • Anyone affected by the psychopath is already searching for a way out. It is often subconscious and unexpressed. You must try to understand their stresses and questions. Then, show them the right answers. They will usually accept what you are saying.

This takes time, and solid evidence, immune to forgery. There are risks. Mallory will try exactly the same strategy, painting you as the common enemy. You must be beyond reproach. You must be transparent with the people you need to work with.

The other danger is that a psychopath may not always be a lone hunter. There are psychopaths who work together, to control large groups. You are unlikely to confront such organized criminality in your personal life. If you do find yourself facing it, avoid direct confrontation.

Invest in Self

If you're trapped in a relationship with Mallory, you will be in a bad state which shows as depression. The slave, feed, and wreck phases of the relationship corrode your sense of identity. When someone asks you "how's it going?" your answers revolve around Mallory. "She's in a good mood today," or "crazy day today." You seem little more than a puppet, reacting to Mallory's every whim. And when Mallory isn't there, you feel empty and passive.

You can reverse this process of destruction of self. You can become more resistant to manipulation, better able to fight back. You can imagine and construct better futures than "when will this pain end?"

The tools of mind control come in many shapes. Likewise, there are many ways to invest in self:

  • Rebuild relationships that broke as you went deep into the rabbit hole with Mallory.

  • Build private space and time where Mallory cannot create chaos or try to take control.

  • Start new projects to replace the failed projects you invested in with Mallory.

  • Find positives in your situation. Every day can be a valuable lesson, if you are able to learn.

  • Turn your pain and emotion into creative art, music, dance, photography, or writing.

  • Use this creative process to create positive energy, and happy moments. It's both good for you, and confusing and distasteful to Mallory.

When I said psychopaths are lazy, that isn't true in all senses. They work hard at their core skills. They will bring people together, so they can get control over them. One irony of psychopathy is that this energy can produce positive and creative outcomes. We often have a better person hiding inside us. You can use your encounters with Mallory to find and develop that person.

Move to Exit

The last move in solving this complex puzzle is to create exits, and move towards them. You are only as trapped as you believe you are, unless Mallory has restrained you by force. When you can imagine a future beyond your current situation, then you can create it. Even if it takes years, you define the path to freedom by your own imagination and determination.

Your goal must be to rebuild a healthy, complete, professional or personal life. One where Mallory does not exist, and where he cannot interfere. It may be a matter of cutting contact with Mallory.

As you get a grip over things, Mallory will decide whether he intends to stay, or leave. If he decides to leave, it will be sudden and total.

More often, Mallory wants to stay. He will either force you out, make you accept his control, or do something worse. If there is a moment of real physical danger, it is this. There is an old pattern of suspicious deaths of those divorcing their abusive partners.

In most countries with modern policing, Mallory cannot get away with physical violence. He knows it. In a corrupt country, if Mallory has powerful friends who can protect him, the risks of violence go up.

The most likely outcome is quite banal. Mallory will just become "normal." He will turn into the perfect parent, partner, or colleague. Anyone looking at him for the first time will see a lovely, hard-working person.

If you are not careful, Mallory can convince judges and peers that he is the sane one in a relationship. They will believe you are the one with issues. So, you must collect your evidence and witnesses long before he realizes your intentions.

Think of the Children

The most delicate and difficult cases are those involving shared projects. This means: homes, businesses, and above all, children. You can walk away from these, and people do. If you have children with Mallory, then it's not enough to save yourself. You have to also think how to save your children, and give them the tools to deal with their abusive parent.

I explained in “Hunting Mallory” how Mallory divides his children into winners and losers. Even with occasional access to his children, Mallory can shape them.

One strategy is to fight for exclusive custody, to remove Mallory's influence for good. This is a worthy goal in any eventual divorce or separation. Mallory will often be the one to walk away. After all, he is not interested in raising children.

Yet, there will be times when Mallory refuses to let go. It tends to be hard to separate children from a parent without evidence of physical abuse. You may see Mallory as toxic and abusive. A judge may see two parents who argue a lot.

You can try to catch Mallory breaking the rules, and get a judgment on that basis. This works only if you can afford it, and if Mallory's delinquency is dramatic and undeniable. Do not assume a judge will see things your way. No matter how well you explain, Mallory always tells a better story.

A more pragmatic backup strategy is to use Mallory to inoculate your children. This gives them tools to defend against his tactics. It also helps them in later life as they cross other psychopaths. I explained about providing subtitles. You can reinforce this by showing what parenting can look like. Shower your children with affection, love, and structure.

Over years you can teach your children self-reliance and inner strength. Mallory will keep trying to undermine that. It's just his nature. You use each case as an exercise, until your children have learned to read what lies below the words and smiles.

This is hard to do without asking your children to hate their other parent. Hate is not a useful emotion, when dealing with a psychopath. Neither are fear, anger, jealousy, self-pity and so on. Mallory merits careful observation, analysis, and explanation. If you can maintain this mental state, you can teach it to your children. Mallory has no emotions for his children beyond, "these are mine." It is fair that his children feel dispassionate about him in return.

This sounds cruel, yet it's making the best of a bad situation. In most families with a psychopath parent, the opposite happens. The other parent becomes the enabler. That is, they defend and justify Mallory, over and over. Minors cannot defend themselves, not alone against a single adult, and not against two.

Being the "disabler" parent has many positives. It teaches you to move forwards, not dwell in the past. To work from the desire to help yourself and others, not to punish from anger. To seek peace, not revenge. To understand and explain, not to blame.


In this chapter I've explained how to end a psychopathic relationship from the inside. The key lesson is that if you flee an abusive relationship, you leave as a damaged person. You take with you self-hate and a form of addiction to abuse which can last a lifetime.

As an alternative, I propose a process: Diagnose, Observe, Inhibit, and Terminate (DOIT). Through this process you will untangle the lies and distortions, and rebuild your self-image. By facing and beating your fears, you recover your inner strengths.

It is the deliberate act of freeing yourself from Mallory that heals you. It can take months or years. It will often be a painful and terrifying process. The pain and terror become routine, and then they pass. It is the shifting of power back to you that matters. When you end your relationship with Mallory, do it on your own terms, and as a whole person.

When you can look at Mallory and feel gratitude for making you a stronger, happier person, then you know you are free.

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