Story #29 – Dana’s story: Cognitive dissonance is a measurable sign of abuse


Dana’s story*: Cognitive dissonance is a measurable sign of abuse

“I was in this relationship from the age of 15 to 50. So before the relationship, I would say that I was an open, enthusiastic and loving person. By the time the relationship ended, I was suffering from chronic depression and needed lots of therapy. In between, I became a loving mother and a freelance writer and newspaper reporter. I often wonder how much more I could have accomplished had I had a supportive spouse.” Read more.

Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

Why the Sociopath Needs Secondary Supply to Maintain Primary Supply

Not only does the sociopath groom and prep his primary victim in the early idolization phase of the toxic relationship, the sociopath also grooms and preps the victim’s closest family member or best friend as secondary supply.

The sociopath does this to build an illusion of trust between himself and a person who came into the life of his current victim many years before the sociopath.

If the sociopath can establish this false trust with a victim’s best friend or closest family member, then the sociopath is able to successfully triangulate and gain support when his primary victim begins to question the sociopath’s motive.

The secondary supply is only privy to all of the so-called love and respect the sociopath has for the primary victim. The secondary supply, whenever alone with the sociopath, repeatedly is fed lines by the sociopath such as:

“I love her so much. She and I are perfect for each other. She came into my life just when I needed her the most and she needed me. You see that, right? How beautiful is that!?!”

The secondary supply is so happy for her friend, the primary supply, and even repeats the sociopath’s shallow declarations to others in their inner circle. The secondary supply is enveloped in the same fog as the primary victim, but the secondary supply never experiences the reality of the sociopath’s dark side the way the primary supply eventually and insidiously does.

So when the primary supply starts confiding her misgivings and doubts about the sociopath to the secondary supply, the secondary supply is there to immediately counter the concerns with what she thinks is love, support, and reassurance:

“Don’t be silly! He loves you so much. All he tells me is that you saved him and he saved you and that he wants to grow old with you. Other women don’t matter to him any more! He loves you! Give yourself more credit and stop worrying. You need him and he needs you. He tells me all the time. He’s good for you.”

This just perpetuates and deepens the primary supplies confusion and cognitive dissonance.

And if the primary victim doesn’t go to the secondary supply with her concerns and instead starts by confronting the sociopath, the sociopath will direct her to talk to the secondary supply:

“Don’t be silly! You’re imagining things. I love you so much. Just ask Alice.”

In my case, the sociopath found supply from my elderly mother. My sisters were no match for his empty and transparent compliments. All they saw was an arrogant fool who was fooling their sister.

But my mother…she was blindsided by the sociopath’s feigned concern and charm, as are all secondary supplies…at first.

And it wasn’t until my mother, the boy’s only source of secondary supply that could possibly influence me, suddenly dropped her support of the sociopath that I too began to really question his motives and authenticity.

This past Mother’s Day, my mother approached me, because she couldn’t figure out how to delete messages between the boy and my mother through Facebook. She had been too ashamed to ask me for help to delete them sooner. She was ashamed of her part in the perpetuation of the toxic relationship. She also feared I would be triggered and become angry after reading the messages.

The only thing the messages proved were what I have known all along. I assured my mother that she did nothing wrong, that I wasn’t upset with her, and that reading the messages validated me.

Delete!! Poof! My mother is no longer haunted by the King of Cons.

Who was your sociopath’s secondary supply?


Love bombing, attacks and cognitive dissonance #sociopaths #narcissists

Love bombing, attacks and cognitive dissonance Paula CarrasquilloLove bombing (v.) – overwhelming us with attention and praise, calling us their soul mate after a week of knowing us and describing us as “the one” they’ve been waiting for their entire lives.

The praise demands our attention; it’s literally in our faces, in out texts, in our ears and throughout our emails from the sociopath. The love bombs come on like a blitzkrieg and are repeated over and over again to the point of dizzying us into a fog of feeling totally loved and adored. By establishing and surrounding us in a bliss fog, the sociopath primes us so we miss or dismiss the insidious nature of the narcissistic sociopath’s personal attacks on our character over time.

Love bombing happens in the very beginning of the relationship and is repeated by the abuser over the lifetime of the relationship.

Love bombing immediately follows narcissistic rages and highly energized verbal and violent physical attacks and is the primary reason victims experience cognitive dissonance: having co-occurring and conflicting emotions of love and loathing for the sociopath.

Essentially, anytime the abuser fears we will leave/abandon him due to his assaults, we will be love bombed.

They love bomb us to throw us off balance. Love bombing happens immediately after an attack. We have little time to process our anger and frustrations, because, just as quickly as the rage comes on, the love bombing follows.

This hot-and-cold/cold-and-hot behavior is contradictory to any understanding of love a healthy person knows. But we tend to make excuses for the abuser. Don’t. Don’t feel sorry for him or pity him. That’s what he wants you to do. If he’s an adult, he should know better. There is no excuse for abuse and manipulation of a good person’s heart.

Love bombing is one of their favorite tools to con us into thinking they’re only human and deserve chance after chance to redeem themselves. After all, they love you so much, right?

If in the beginning days, weeks and months of a romantic relationship a person uses repeated superlatives to describe how perfect we are for them (like the best or the most), be cautious. No one knows a person well enough that soon to profess such undying love and affection.

But it’s so easy to be hypnotized. Humans love to be loved and adored, which is our core, human quality narcissistic sociopaths use, extort and defile. It’s how we end up convinced that we are the bad guy in the relationship. How can we possibly justify rejecting and being angry and upset with someone who seems to love us so much? We’re monsters for rejecting such fragile people, huh? We’re hateful and heartless.

We are none of those things. None of them! Our crime is being fooled by a person who has no idea of love outside movies and fairy tales. That’s the ideal fantasy, not the reality of love.

We need to let go of the fantasy of love at first sight and approach love and life realistically. True love is possible, but true love takes time, patience and lots of “getting to know you” moments.

Deflect the love bomb with common sense and laugh at the preposterousness of it as soon as it strikes. You might end up being called heartless, but it’s better to be called heartless before falling, don’t you think? 🙂


You are not a firefly ~ but the sociopath will try to contain you like one

firefliesAbusers desire control. They want to contain us like fireflies in a jar. But we can not be contained for long without fighting to stay alive…

Your love affair with your abuser begins peacefully enough. He tells you he loves you so much that he wants to do everything with you. He never wants to leave your side. He wants to run to the grocery store with you. Help you drop off the kids at school. Even hang out with you while you shop and try on shoes and clothes. It’s sweet, you think, how much he seems to adore you. You eat it up. In the beginning.

Soon, this attention becomes smothering. He’s so close you can’t breathe at times. He’s on top of you as you try to eat, sleep, read and get dressed for work or school. The more you try to do things alone, the more he demands he goes along with you. You begin resenting him. You just want to be able to shut the door for some quiet moments or run out and complete a few mundane tasks like filling up your car’s gas tank, buying stamps at the post office, making a deposit in your checking account or shopping for new lipstick without him on your heels.

It’s not that you don’t care for him. You simply enjoy being alone at times. It’s your independent nature screaming to be free just as you always were before he entered your life.

Unfortunately, he sees your desire to be independent as a direct threat to his insecurities. What once seemed like a romantic gesture has turned into an abusive and controlling tactic. If you insist on going alone to run your errands, he accuses you of meeting someone for a lover’s tryst or of not caring enough about him to want his company. Every guilt trip in the book is played. You are exhausted by the absurdity of it all and simply relent in hopes of releasing the pressure.

More time passes, and he comes along. Every time. You never get your freedom. You can’t breathe and inhale as you please. Your resentment for him grows and grows. It builds up quickly and soon anger surfaces.

You are short with him. You snap at him as you would snap at a petulant child who whines when he doesn’t get exactly what he demands.

When your anger surfaces like this, you have real problems. Now he has “proof” of your heartlessness, bitterness and lack of love for him. Someone who loves him as much as you say you love him would not treat him so badly. (You bitch! You whore! You asked for it!)

You become more confused and just want it to stop.

The chaos can’t be assessed and ordered easily, if at all. You forget where the anger was born. You don’t realize you have been contained by his control. You don’t realize you are reacting directly to his irrational, unreasonable and disordered perceptions of how he thinks you should behave.

You become like the gentle firefly knocking itself against the jar, appearing like you’re nuts trying to get free.

If you do find a moment of quiet and peace, you’ll start to remember how it all started and where it has led–

You were once a bright and shining firefly flickering and zooming about. Spreading your light and energy among family and friends. Then he spotted you and wanted you for himself. You slowed down long enough for him to grab you and place you in his jar. He wants to keep you there, too. He doesn’t care or realize that the oxygen is dwindling and your fight to survive has nothing to do with him but everything to do with your desire to be set free. Free to be you.

Real love doesn’t take away our life force. Real love infuses our life force with more energy and love.

Frustration and resentment is a warning sign we must heed. Don’t let it linger and fester.


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