The 5 Stages of True Love Scam and How To Recover From It

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The 5 Stages of True Love Scam & How To Recover From It

True love scam follows a set five stages.
The pathological predator’s cycle of survival.
So-called love with a sociopath is a world of hell.
It’s predictable and inevitable.

True love scam is a nightmare of epic proportions that happens when we’re entangled by a person of “antisocial personality disorder”. In a word, when we’re ensnared by a sociopath or psychopath. True love scam follows a specific pattern whether the narcissistic hijacking goes on three days or 30 years; and is always devastating, and is always horrific to extract ourselves from. Narcissists, narcs or narcopaths, whatever we call them, hunt prey all day every day, pretend to be what they aren’t, and lie.

You’re not broken. Someone who didn’t love you convinced you that you are.

What is True Love Scam?

“Half of the people lie with their lips; the other half with their tears” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The phenomenon of true love scam is coming into focus like never before, It’s been here since the beginning of time, but only in the last five or six years has much of anything about it been found through a Google search. Like me, you whipped out your laptop or smartphone when that guy you’re dating wasn’t around, or when that woman you’ve been seeing finally left. When I searched in 2013, I found pretty much nothing, so I started writing…

If you found this article you’ve probably experienced a true love scam. And you’re here because you know normal doesn’t cause confusion or pain. The fact that we’re feeling bad, means we do know what normal is, even if we may not have lived it much.

By now a lot of us have heard the words, narcissistic personality disorder, sexual predator, sociopath or psychopath. At this point they’re even in the news; episodic series on HBO and every other network, and movies are packed with stories about it. And unfortunately, there’s much misinformation floating around that isn’t directly shining the light we need to see the truth and resolve loss, be safe, heal and become user proof forever.

When they sense and see us seeing through them; when we’re questioning too much, they do their best to bind us more deeply.

The thing is, there’s a big difference between normal and sociopathy. From our experiential point of view is the place to look. A diagnosis of them isn’t needed. Our experience reveals what we’re facing.

If you experienced the five stages of true love scam, consider yourself as targeted and ensnared by a pathological user, a predator, a sociopath. That’s the beginning of finding answers.

Normal vs. Pathological User

“The toxic behaviors were there before you decided to enter into relationships with them. The signs were there. You may have chosen to look the other way, but the signs were there.—Psychotherapist from Type 1 Sociopath” – P.A. Speers

As normal people, when we meet a new person we want to be pleasant and leave it at that. Friendship with normal people goes at an easy pace and blossoms naturally with mutual interest and effort on both sides.

They can sense and know when we know something is wrong. They’re working quickly behind the scenes to get as much as they can before they exit; we need to stop the loss in just the same way: behind their back.

True Love Scam is the Survival Lifestyle of the Narcissistic Sociopath

Let’s take a look at the phases of true love scam. I call true love scam a “hijacking”, a deliberate invasion by a parasite. Every parasite needs a host who knows nothing of their presence in order to survive.

5 Stages of True Love Scam: The Cycle of Taking and Use: What the Predator Does to Survive

  1. Assess
  2. Win Trust and Empathy
  3. Take and Use
  4. Take and Use More
  5. Smear: This is their offensive play at self-defense and has been going on since we met

1. True Love Scam by a Parasitic Con Man Requires a Strong “Host”

Each person an antisocial psychopath meets seen as an object. Their favorite is people who are strong, resilient, resourceful, independent, open, loyal, and in general, really incredible people who are trustworthy themselves. Sociopaths assess everyone for what that person can be used for.

To the sociopath we’re an animated object, a natural resource to serve their purpose – or not. Sociopaths, people of “antisocial personality disorder”, do not have genuine friendships or families or partners. Every “relationship” they are “in” is a scam, a con. Every person is a person they use.

People are an Object Representing Fulfillment of a Sociopath’s Needs

A sociopath’s interest in another human being is sort of like our need for a pair of garden sheers, or an umbrella, a toaster, or a blender. We need those things to accomplish certain goals. Otherwise, we don’t think about them or care about them.

In fact, we have more concern for the condition and upkeep of our blender or toaster than a sociopath does for another human being. Even if we don’t like toast, we wouldn’t destroy our toaster. Sociopaths use and take to the brink of ruin anyone and everyone they use.

What they do care about is getting out attention, getting us to “like” them so that they can use us. We’re used for anything and everything that it takes to live. We each, as targets potentially (they hope) fulfill a “goal” of theirs. A sociopath wants us to like them so they can use us.

2. True Love Scam Requires Our Trust and Empathy Towards the Sociopath

To win trust sociopaths pose as trustworthy. One common sociopath antic is to borrow money and repay it to appear trustworthy in either business or love scams.

To draw out our empathy, they tell sob stories too, tales of abuse and betrayal. This is a hodge-podge of lies to test the depths of our empathy.

Another tricky bit is that sociopaths use words as bait to create a false sense of intimacy with their stories and “affection” or attention. We “feel” it and believe them because in the normal world people don’t lie. In the normal world people trust and love. Predators use words to keep us in place.

Never let someone who contributes so little to a relationship control so much of it.

Early Generosity is a Hallmark of True Love Scam

They’ll buy the groceries, pay the rent or mortgage and talk about many things they plan to do. They’ll fix things around the house. Buy us gifts. Their attention can be overwhelming, their enthusiasm contagious. We’re pretty excited. What they are doing is hooking us. There are promises, of a great life. Who doesn’t want that? It’s normal to want that. There’s nothing wrong with us.

3. Sociopaths Take and Steal Things and Influence Us to Give More

While we’re looking straight into the fantasy life spun for us our true love will take as much as possible. Bit by bit, or really, right away; they worm into a kind of control of our lives in minor or major ways.

Know that doubting they did what they did or are as bad as it seems is normal.
Our emotional and mental confusion keeps us in. We simply can’t recognize “red flags”, no matter how red they are, or how hard they wave if they’re signaling something we don’t know exists.

Normal People Try and Compromise and Try More

We behave like normal people; giving as normal people and we “try” in relationships when things need fixing. That’s normal. In true love scam, we begin to feel like we’re in it alone. We get to a point where we feel we’re the only ones building the relationship. And we are. We’re amazing: We’re pulling the weight of our own life and their empty, rotten flesh sack.

When we were laughing with joy at this amazing true love. They were laughing with pride at what they got away with, and how easy we are to scam. Meanwhile, they ruin us behind our backs.

We’ve been working, and trying, and yet, there’s nothing there but a pile of rubble. The sociopath knows we’ll gradually see they’re lying and using and taking. If they see us seeing through them, questioning too much, they do their best to bind us more deeply.

4. True Love Scam Requires That We Stay Hooked into the Predator

“The hardest part of being in an emotionally abusive relationship, it’s actually admitting you’re in one.” – Anna Akana

As we’re asking questions, challenging their stories they hunker down and take more, more wildly and usually behind our backs. They do things that bind us more deeply into what we still think of as a relationship so they can take more, longer. It’s our normal natural innate amazing human qualities that pique our emotions and keep us in longer.

Male sociopaths might make sure we have their children. Female sociopaths may claim they’re pregnant. They’ll ingratiate themselves to any children we already have. They’ll act kindly towards younger children – until they don’t – they can physically and emotionally assault them.

They may work to remove our children from the equation – especially older children who could influence us away from the sociopath. Female sociopaths marry and have children only as a meal ticket.

Apologies from a person of antisocial personality disorder, a sociopath, are just as rare as flying fish; and just as

5. The Spiral Down to the Ruining End

“The quiet but inexorable breaking down of self-esteem is much more sinister – it’s violation of the soul.” – Rachel Abbott

The sociopath digs deeper to ruin our lives, taking more, faster. They might not be home much anymore. Or spend the night somewhere else under some pretense. They’re not filling the gas tank anymore. They borrow money but don’t pay it back or just take money. Sex with a con artist sociopath gets strange, harder, or non-existent.

Sociopaths leave us holding the bag. They take responsibility for nothing. Meanwhile, they’ve gotten everyone around us to think they’re great.

They tell stories about where they were, why they did something or something that happened. These narcissistic types are talkers and storytellers. Their stories are full of holes and lies, but their talking and stories serve a purpose to the narcissistic sociopath.

It Ends In an Unexpected Instant

At any given moment you have the power to say, “This is not how the story is going to end.”

For most of us, one specific thing a sociopath does breaks the trance utterly. It might be a lie so obvious the façade shatters. It might be we discover of theft or another woman or children. Whatever breaks the momentum of the spell for you, trust yourself, leave, break-up, get them out, be safe.

Though I know you want one, please don’t spend time looking for an admission of wrongdoing or an apology; Apologies from a person of antisocial personality disorder are as rare as feathered fish. And just as genuine. Also, know that doubting they did what they did or are as bad as it seems is normal.

These are Crimes Rather Than Relationships

A healthy relationship will never require you to sacrifice your friends, your dream, or your dignity.

All their “relationships” (crimes) are heartless and parasitic. They do not love us, they don’t love anyone. They routinely “wine and dine” other women, or men, just as they did with us in the early stages. It’s essential for the antisocial psychopath to keep hoards of victims at a time for their current livelihood and for the upcoming months and years.

They feel no positive, connecting, human emotions; no affection, no love, no concern, no conscience. Even sex is only for control or a high for the sociopath; a primal raw drug to give them some kind of spike forms their normal dullness. Sex is relief from their flat-line boredom. Sex binds people to them. Withholding sex binds us too. Narcissistic sociopaths have no sexual boundaries.

Hello Sadness: Leave Your Shoes On Because You Aren’t the New Me

At this point, we feel horrible. Despair. Sadness. We know something is truly wrong. Take action immediately. Follow your instincts. Without their knowledge, undo any access they have to bank accounts, credit cards, or anything else you own. They know we know something is wrong. They’re working quickly to get as much as they can before they exit; we need to stop that in just the same way; behind their back.

When we recognize that our dream man or woman is actually a monster they very often openly, boldly show us who they are. They will brazenly take more. They’ll laugh as they do it. They’ll take even more behind our back before they exit. A lot more. This is when the deeper financial damage happens. Sociopaths leave us holding the bag. They take responsibility for nothing. Meanwhile, they’ve gotten everyone around us to think they’re great.

Sociopaths and the Smear Campaign

Smearing is the final act in the five stages of love scam. This last bit is known as the smear campaign and like everything else in this nightmare, is predictable behavior of a narcissistic sociopath.

So, they’ll tell others things like we’re mentally ill or on drugs, a liar or a stalker. They might post horrible things about us online. They’ll want everyone to think we treated them badly. It’s super common for predator sociopaths or narcopaths, or whatever you’re calling them, to file restraining orders or protective orders against us or threaten to get us arrested or to become violent towards us.

Pathological Users Live in an Alternate Universe

We thought it was love, when really when we were laughing with joy at this amazing true love. They were laughing with pride at what they got away with, and how easy we are to scam. Meanwhile, they ruin us behind our backs.

We’ll find ourselves in intense anxiety and distress, this is post-traumatic stress. They want all things to seem like our fault. They paint themselves as the victim in exaggerated and ridiculous melodrama.

We Have the Power to Leave a Sociopath

They need us; we do not need them, even though very early on it felt as if we did. We must protect ourselves from their rage. Getting them out or leaving ourselves is at the top of the to-do-list, like nothing before. It’s critical that we go understand why we need to go no contact and do it as soon as we can and learn how to deal with a sociopath.

When a sociopath loses their hold on a target they get mad. When they’re threatened or feel in danger of exposure sociopaths can become violent. They do rash and irrational things to turn things around on their prey in hopes of not going to jail, being exposed or losing.

Study up, talk it out with those who know. Muster the courage to take practical action and make a complete recovery. We will survive and thrive.

Written By Jennifer Smith
Originally Appeared On Truelovescam


Love is something we all look for. We all want someone to steal our heart and sweep us off our feet. We have this innate need of someone who will take care of us, love us and tell us how special we are to them. We all want someone to connect with, to call our own. Unfortunately, there are some people who take advantage of this inherent need to feel loved and use and abuse us for their own sinister gains.

These are predators and abusers who are not just breaking our hearts and leaving us mentally bruised, they are committing a crime against love, against relationships and against humanity. But we can get over this true love scam and rebuild our lives to find the love that matters the most: self love.

You are not a victim, you are a survivor

“If you walked away from a toxic, negative, abusive, one-sided, dead-end, low vibrational relationship or friendship – you won.” – Lalah Delia

It’s easy to fall victim to such sociopaths who are hellbent on hurting you. When you open your heart to someone and all they want is to abuse you, then it can leave you scarred for a long time. But you are a survivor. Despite their best con game and all the abuse, you will emerge as a survivor. Understand that it is not your fault. You do not deserve abuse of any sort. The important thing is that you realize you have control and you can leave and create a better life for yourself. How you respond to the situation will decide how you live the rest of your life.

Stand up for yourself. Refuse to be a victim. You have the strength to get through this. You simply need to stop relying on others to protect you. Once you start loving yourself, you will see how free, loving and joyful life becomes. 


You May Also Like:

Love Bombing as a Narcissistic Attachment Style
The Narcissist’s Soulmate Scam: Identifying a Love Bomber
5 Ways To Disarm A Love Bombing Sociopath
True Love Is Unconditional: A Perfect Marriage Is Not

The 5 Stages of True Love Scam & How To Recover From It

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