How to Leave a Psychopath

A reader has described to me her desire to leave an abusive relationship with a long-term partner she feels is a psychopath.

This is my advice…

  1. Be strong (20 years is a long time)
  2. Be smart; he has abused your trust and your children, you deserve better and have an obligation to your children to demonstrate self-respect.
  3.  Be careful. A true psychopath might not seem dangerous but he is capable of hurting you if it serves his interests. In addition, psychopaths are impulsive and he might not be able to restrain himself if provoked.
  4. Play his own game by not showing your intentions. Leave; do not tell him you’re going to do it. The reason for this is not only to protect you from a dangerous fit of rage but because psychopaths are expert manipulators and they’ll quickly compose strategies and counter strategies against your plan. They’ve studied you for a long time and they know the buttons they need to push—don’t make it any harder for yourself. Leave; do not tell him you’re going to do it.
  5. Tell law enforcement the situation and ask them for advice before you make your move.
  6. Undertake counseling to help you conquer any temptation of going back or repeating the cycle with another abuser.