This article comes directly from a conversation I had with a dear friend, so it may feel a bit personal at times. I’ve done my best to edit it to apply to a broader audience. It’s a special note for anyone who felt unusually disposable compared to their other targets. It will also apply to survivors who were in long-term relationships with psychopaths, as many of them were trapped with families and children.
Psychopaths are always on the prowl, you know this. But after a longer, more “substantial” relationship, they are usually seeking to take out their hatred and contempt on one poison container (a phrase coined by Kelli from TheAbilityToLove)—a temporary target to dispose of as soon as they find something else. Because of this, you tend to get ripped out of the idealize phase much faster than most. Additionally, the idealize phase is lazy: no money, no actions, no real treatment. Just words. You got a lot of words, which sucked you in, because you wanted to believe the words so badly.
But as the psychopath transitions from two “stable” relationships, they need something to fill the void in between. Although they likely don’t even have the next target scouted out yet, they already know they’re not staying with you. But to you, the relationship means everything—it’s attention and appreciation you’ve never experienced before. It appeals to your deepest dreams of making someone else happy, after all of their alleged pain and sadness. It seems like they know you so well. You finally found a soul mate after so much loneliness and frustration.
But, as you’re starting to see, their actions never match up with their words. Psychopaths are especially indifferent with transitional targets, not really caring one way or another—leaving you with the feeling that they’re being insensitive. You tend to fill in their abuse with your own love, in hopes that you can restore the brief idealize phase. Targets often experience cognitive dissonance, trying to project their own reasoning onto an unreasonable person. But their behavior is neither accidental nor unintentional.
And then comes the most heartbreaking moment: they discard you and go running off with another person who they suddenly seem ready to settle down with. They move in together, post pictures, pay for things, and live the life you always dreamed of. It’s the ultimate insult when you were not given any of that special treatment. Basically, as soon as they got their quick fix of power and control over you, they felt re-energized and ready to scout out their next great adventure.
Statistically, most victims return to their abusers seven times before they finally realize the treatment is unacceptable and leave for good. So here is the cycle these victims are left with, with each idealize and devalue getting progressively worse:
1. Idealize, devalue, idealize, devalue, idealize, devalue (repeat) -> Finally a breaking point
This is what transitional targets get:
2. Mediocre idealize phase with huge promises that make you feel amazing -> Sudden discard out of nowhere.
This leaves you with zero closure because you can’t even look back at the cycle of violence that exists for most people. Not that you would want to by any means, but you’re basically just left in limbo after the abandonment. From such a ridiculous high to a devastating low, with no time or perspective to realize what just happened. It’s emotional torture. You are left only with an intense love and a horrible discard.
Psychopaths use their mind games on every target—it’s always the same. The difference is, transitional targets never experience that “full” idealize phase, with some time and stability for things to blow up. This is because the psychopath never intended for the transitional target to become a stable part of their life to begin with. You were perfect for what they wanted at the time: attention and admiration.
But they also recognized that you were emotionally intelligent and uniquely perceptive. The fact that you’re reading this book is not some sort of accident—you’re a truth seeker, determined to find out what just happened to you.
For others, the highs and the lows are less extreme, which is useful but also ironically frustrating to the psychopath.
Psychopaths settle for targets who don’t truly see their nasty behavior. If you’re reading this now, that means the psychopath could never settle for you, because over the course of months, years, or decades, you saw through the facade. They need someone who won’t catch on. Ever.
So yes, on one hand, the eventual long-term victim is useful, because they won’t point out their lying and cheating. But on the other hand, the psychopath silently resents these people for not seeing through their facade. Strange, right? They pretend to give off this perfect, happy image with their “settlement”, but they much prefer the thrill of someone more empathetic—someone who truly feels the torture of their mind games. But the psychopath can rarely have one of these people permanently, so instead he or she uses them during transition periods, like a quick high before the settlement.
Every once in a while, though, they will end up spending years with a highly empathetic person. I know several of these people from the forum, usually locked in by family or children. These dynamics often seem to result in horrific discards and physical abuse, because over time, the target forms a remarkable understanding of their abuser.
Many survivors tell stories of love-bombing that lacked the actual courtship seen with their next target or previous ex. You never got to spend as much time with them as the others, right? Instead, you experienced a much shorter fling, cut off abruptly in the middle of the idealize phase with some unbelievably vicious identity erosion. And then suddenly they’ve settled down with another partner, leaving you wondering how they’re able to spend years with that person, when they could barely handle a few months with you.
And that’s the point—psychopaths typically can’t last long with empathetic people (except for cases with children and long-term manipulation), because you tend to absorb their poison. Yes, they get the high of sweeping you off your feet and making you a perfect servant to their mind games. But the downside is, eventually you subconsciously spit that poison right back in their face. You don’t want to ruin the idealize phase, but you find yourself unable to stop pointing out their lies and changed behavior.
Transitional targets and truth-seeking targets (anyone reading this book) figured them out, all the way down to their nasty core. Psychopaths would never admit it, but they’ll always have a bitter respect for people who can see them for what they really are. And at the same time, they’ll also strongly resent those who can’t—even though that’s all they can get in the long run. This is why they always lose and feel a need to reinvent the rules of the game, to convince themselves that their choice is correct.
But the fact is, psychopaths settle. They always do. And that’s why they needed to destroy you before settling. To convince themselves that they’re not losing anything special. So why not make you self-destruct—even kill yourself. Perfect, the nagging doubts are finally gone.
And from your perspective, this is why you’re left so resentful and angry. You did so much, encouraged by their fake appreciation that kept you going. At the very least, why couldn’t they be a jerk from the start so you’d know not to waste your time and emotions? Instead, they used words and chemicals to brainwash you into giving, giving, and more giving. So when they not only don’t appreciate it—but actually destroy you—you’re left feeling broken and empty. It’s not human. And then you see them running off with someone else, paying for things, settling down a bit... It makes you think “Hey, maybe they are capable of a relationship after all. Maybe the problem was me.”
No, the problem was not you. And it never will be.
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The Transitional Target
Psychopaths are always on the prowl, we know this. But after a longer, more "substantial" relationship, they are usually seeking to take out their hatred.
Article Author: Peace