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The Dead-Eyed Stare

kimSo what about those dead-eyed stares, huh?

The other day a thread broke out on the blank look cheaters give you when you confront them with their lies.

What is that look? Condescension? Vacancy? Amusement? Are the manipulation wheels spinning so fast, the facial expressions are set in neutral? What’s going on in there?

I remember unearthing some ghastly nugget of truth and confronting my ex with “So, are you a pathological liar, or what?” and he just smirked. Didn’t deny it. Didn’t affirm it. It was just sort of “Yeah, and so?”

Now, in his case, that wasn’t an ordinary response. The mindfuck channels usually flipped between the rage-charm-self-pity stations. He didn’t pause long before going on the offensive with the mindfuckery. And yet, every now and then Mr. Dead Eyes would appear.

If eyes are the windows to the soul, I have to conclude that sociopaths are just empty elevator shafts. Not much there except a steep drop into Hell.

(Shudder) These people exist.

So, what’s your theory?

 

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    • My theory is that pathological people, whether it is megalomaniac narcissists who think their personal experiences are the same as everyone else who has a similar experience, or who just think their point of view is the only right one, are people who attract other pathological people.

      One very strong hallmark of a Pathological type is that they see themselves as never doing anything wrong. They see themselves as perfect and faultless. They refuse to believe that they have difficult relationships because they may be doing something unfair or wrong. They always see themselves as victims, and they obsess about their victim hood endlessly because no one wants to spend any time with them and they have nothing else to do with their time.

      If their kids hate them, they see it as something wrong with their kid. If they have no friends, it’s because people are weird, not them.

      • Not sure what this post has to do with the subject at hand. I certainly refuse to wear the “victim” mantel and I have a full personal and professional life, as well as an excellent relationship with my kids. I have always viewed life as a joyful experience, even during the toughest of times. Watching my marriage publicly implode was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced, but I am told by my many friends that I handled the situation with dignity and grace. So if there was any pathology, it came from a Jesus cheater, who saw a pot of gold at the end of the destruction of my marriage. Fortunately, I was able to protect myself and my family from the intended financial rip-off. Many here are not so lucky.

        The dead eye stare? That’s the cheater’s way of closing the curtain. After all, the only feelings that matter are theirs, right? I will never forget baring my soul to X and looking up to that stare. Chilling, actually.

        • I had that same experience, Violet. Sobbing and bearing my soul and he just stared at me with cold eyes. They were vacant. Nothing behind them. I’d always loved the color of his eyes, and had memories of looking into them at our wedding, and after the birth of our first child. The eyes I saw looking at me after D-day were alien. Soulless. Unnerving.

          As for a theory, I think my husband just got to a point where he “switched off” his emotions. He spent weeks sobbing and crying, then made a decision to leave and turned to stone. Whenever one of us would express how much he was hurting our family he was respond with a robot-like “I understand.” He said it over and over as an answer to everything. I finally stopped trying to communicate with him, I couldn’t take it any more. He seemed like a man possessed by an alien spirit. I didn’t recognize him anymore.

          • THIS is exactly what I think. He just turned off. I think it was the only way he could stomach being in the same house with his family he was knowingly harming and destroying for some skank, was to completely just shut down. Anytime I made any kind of points as to the destruction he was causing so many people his response was a cold emotionless “I’m sorry” or “I get it”. I think the vacant stare is their auto response defense mechanism to avoid any of the bad feeling they might have to experience for all the horrible things they done! Because don’t you know- it’s all about them finally being HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY! … assholes!

              • My black-eyed stare came just a couple of weeks before d-day. It was New Year’s Eve. I was getting a horrible vibe all night. He was his usual, all-about-impressing-strangers, throwing money around, and doing things that I viewed as socially awkward but he thought people LOVED him. And then, out of nowhere, he just looked up and there it was. I couldn’t explain the look then but I felt such a strong impulse to leave and go home. But, I didn’t, because I didn’t want to create a scene and I knew he’d come after me and all I wanted was to be away from him. That night when we got home, my new-ish, rescue dog had slept on our bed and maybe had an accident? Anyway, I had to strip the bed and we had to sleep in another room. All I know was that after laying in the same bed with him for a few minutes, I realized I still had such a eery, creepy feeling from him that I got up and went back to the stripped bed to sleep rather than staying with him for one more minute.

          • I know this is an older post, but I just needed to comment on what you said about your ex saying robotically, “I understand.” My stbxh did the same thing. Kids and I were all crying and he was so cold. It scared me that he just completely turned into another person.

        • I’m just deleting them as I see them. If it comes up with a proxy IP address, the comment will be deleted. FYI. I can’t police the blog 24/7, but if I catch it, buh-bye.

  • It’s simply because there’s just no ‘there’ there. I just didn’t realize it at the time, but it becomes clearer and clearer the longer we’re apart.

    • Kind of scary. I can’t imagine the energy expended doing it.

      https://people.ok.ubc.ca/stporter/Publications_files/Would%20I%20lie%20to%20you%3F.pdf

      I did have a conversation with XH about this “1000 yard stare” when confronted with something, and directly asked if this was what he was doing, emulating some type of hero thing. He got very uncomfortable. I told him that it doesn’t matter now, and he can tell me the truth or whatever, because I’m not a “target” anymore.

      He said, “I don’t scramble well.” Then he changed the subject. So, at least with him, it’s scrambling for an answer. The lies are legion and it’s impossible to remember them all–so best that you just don’t remember anything that they say in order to keep going in a relationship with them. I mean, why would you put every word under a microscope from the very beginning with someone…you don’t. They slide until they get sloppy.

      He also said one time, after I had an amazingly successful round of 20 questions with him that I “should not listen to his words when he’s flustered or scrambling”—I took this later to mean that they spew anything and everything at that given moment to get you off their trail.

      I had confronted him with something so stupid once…the origin of a pie. The pies had begun appearing with odd regularity one summer…and I couldn’t figure out why he all of a sudden wanted to purchase pies when he was actually a fairly good baker.

      Where did you purchase this amazing coconut pie? Blank stare. Like when a little kid is peeing in his pants or his diaper? That faraway look?

      Well, he mumbled something incomprehensible and shuffled off. I thought it so completely odd that I pursued it. He said that he couldn’t quite remember where, although the pies were showing up every couple of weeks.

      I dropped it eventually, because I knew something was just not right. I also stopped eating any of the pies that showed up. I don’t know why.

      What my gut was trying to tell me and what he had failed to scramble out of? The pies were being made by his AP and he was feeding them to his wife and children.

      • OMG, that made me feel ill for you, I think I’d be sick knowing I ate them. I’m so sorry you went through this. 🙁 I don’t know how they can live with themselves.

        • It’s actually sadistic.That is one utterly disordered person to do that.to watch his own flesh and blood nourish themselves on the toxic shit that he had coming to them.vile man

          • CL wrote this a while back and it’s exactly what I thought of after reading your post SphinxMoth: “…the silent, contemptuous ‘fuck you.’ I Know Something You Don’t Know… and that secret delights me. Because when I think of that secret it degrades you.” Right? I don’t think I’ll ever look at pie the same way.

      • Sphinx, your link was an interesting read. The part that hit closest to home for me was the psychopath not being able to fully depict the false emotional expression with convincing accuracy.
        The therapist Gollum & I both saw, now only I see, mentioned that he knew early on he was the one who was lying (mainly projecting) during our individual sessions because his affect was all off. He also said he delivered what should be emotionally charged stories with very little facial expressions. Essentially, he would describe a story of me being terribly cruel, negative, aggressive (when in reality the roles were reversed, he was describing his own behavior) but his face would remain nearly blank; he’d maintain his “unthreatening, everyone’s best buddy” face and an unassuming sweet smile. When pressed further with questions to describe how he felt during these interactions with me he would stare blankly or say “I don’t know” because he genuinely could not assimilate a legitimate, believable fake response. He really had no idea how it might feel to be treated so poorly, as he was the perpetrator and not the one actually experiencing the abuse. So he struggled to define his feelings because essentially, he can’t fake empathy.

      • Omg, sphinx, your pie story reminds me of when x was still in the house, and he was trying some sort of false wreckonciliation, he started making me coffee. Cooking meals. Had not done this for 25 years, totally out of character. It got to the point that i only ate at fast food cause the fact that he was doing this creeped me out.

      • Bringing home pie for all to enjoy, reminds me my ex brought home music that his ho worker burned and DVDs for our kids to enjoy. Not once did I question if there was anything going on between the two of them. The idea of cheating was not on my radar plus she was married, so I just thought what a nice gesture.

        Along the lines of the dead stare, I can relate 100%. After dday, I observed his eyes were sunken, hollow, vacant and actually chilling. His demeanor had been for the last year or so a “broken man”. Questions I asked of him was always “I don’t know”. He shuffled when he walked, stooped over and pulled his hair in a nervous kind of way. The man I married 27 yrs earlier had his mask on securely. This shell of a man helped steer me to get away and divorce. I so believe he is stuck on the pity channel and good luck with the next victim that wants to save him.

        As usual CL coins it spot on in words I didn’t come up with at the time. An empty elevator shaft, and that drop down to hell I can almost visualize.

    • There’s certainly a lack of emotion, feeling, attachment, so that when caught they just don’t panic. Why? It was nothing short of the silent “so what?”. Other than that, they are always two steps ahead of the situation, I think the blank stare is controlled — they are practiced at never giving anything away. They know they can decide later how to handle it.

  • My STBX did that stare when I was crying, no response from him at all, just that stare, I couldn’t believe how cold he is. 🙁

    • Yeah, they hate you for “faking” being upset and trying to “control him” by making him feel guilty. Your “phony” tears are going to fool him.

        • I also got that dead stare when I asked a question he didn’t want to answer, then he’d change the subject. It drove me nuts!

          • Yes! I got the dead-eyed stare on DDay, and for the 8 months I would intermittently see him before he abandoned. I went through absolute hell, suffering PTSD for almost a year, and he could care less about destroying a 23-year “relationship.” I’m sure now it was because he was just going through the motions of being a “husband,” “dad,” “ethical person,” all the while knowing none of it was true.

            That dead-eyed stare? It was x10,000 in his very recent mugshot after getting arrested for assualt & battery of his soulmate whore’s NEWEST soulmate (not kidding), and burglary of her whorehouse. Dead-eyed stare is right.

            • uh….this has left me dumbfounded…KFMM. I hope you send her flowers for taking this asshole off your hands.

              Seriously, when I think about it, in the end, it was the best thing that ever happened having these masked men and women revealed and then led away.

              • CalamityJane – I would send flowers, but I don’t care enough. Besides, that ho-worker got EXACTLY what she wanted, don’t you think? Just glad he saved the insanity for her. I do feel bad for the newest guy she took into her whorehouse and was screwing within days of dumping the x-douchebag, only to have him get battered by this synthetic testosterone-injecting nutjob.

                When I saw the mugshot online, my pulse didn’t even race. I felt – nothing. I know the NC was the right choice from the day I filed against him. (((Hugs to you, CJ)))

            • KFMM, wow, that’s just awful! They fall pretty far when they do. Hope he didn’t call you for bail money!

              • OMG, Roberta – YES!! But not for money. On his second night in county jail, I had 4 missed calls from some randon 866 number. He finally got a hold of me and wanted…wait for it…

                “Can you give me my divorce lawyer’s number??”

                No joke. I told him to get his soulmate whore to do it. He said they broke up. I said, “This isn’t my problem. You need to grow up and figure it out on your own.”
                *Click!* (I hung up)

                INSANE!! He wouldn’t “fight” for our marriage and family after 23 years, but fights for what?? A whore that helped him kill our family, who then just kicked him out? And now, there’s yet ANOTHER blameless victim of these two whores, and he’ll likely sue the x-douchebag for beating the hell out of him and giving him a concussion.

                Classy. SOOOOOOOOO glad to be away from that freak. (((Hugs to all Chumps!!!)

            • KibbleFree……a friend of mine once said…..’it’s the power of the pu**y’. That’s what gets the men all fired up…….the new strange and they lose all senses they NEVER had in the first place! And for the women…..of course the power of the p**is……
              Sicko’s, all of em!

              The blank stare, yep, raising my had too.
              And I got this…..”I get that you’re scorned”.
              Scorned?…..not even close. He ought to be thanking GOD that I believe in GOD and want to get upstairs, rather than downstairs. 🙂

              • I don’t believe it’s ten power of the p***y. The ex withheld for years. I believe it wasn’t about sex at all. It’s just that he is straight up insane

              • I think it’s just jealousy and entitlement. Chumps never have another person on the side to fight. We are committed to them. Sadly, it seems like it might be a turn off. Now maybe if chumps had brought someone else in, then maybe there’d be something else to fight.

      • TheLadyisaChump… a loooong time ago I suffered another cheater, who spoke about “larmes de crocodile” (phony tears) and I did not understand. And he wrote to me several letters after that, and drew a crocodile with tears after his signature. I did not get it, I was so obviously devastated, should I have jumped through the window or what, for him to believe my pain was real ??? I have never been a hypocrite, I haven’t understood it to this day. And now you write this. “Faking”. “Phony tears”. Why do they say that ?

        • ChumpFromF,

          One word: P-R-O-J-E-C-T-I-O-N.

          It’s because HIS tears would be fake, and as others have posted, they tend to see the world as THEY are (a fake) and not as IT is (SOME fakers and a whole lot more GENUINE people)

          Immature thinking at its worst.

        • My XN insisted that all crying was just a ploy to manipulate him. All psychopaths believe that to be the case.

          • I get the “I’m not going to play your game anymore.” This is said with a dead eyed stare. Apparently, crying or expressing emotion is playing games. At the very least, they’re shallow and can’t handle other peoples emotions. At worst, they just don’t care and never have.

      • That was my experience, too. It’s like the only real emotions on the table are theirs (to the narc). Everyone else’s emotions are silly attempts to manipulate (and cheat) the narcissist out of kibbles. Which leads to my other theory (which is probably actually a thing much better described elsewhere) is that narcs always suspect other people of doing what they are in fact doing. So if your narc thinks your emotions are pure manipulation, that just means that their ’emotions’ are instruments of their own manipulation?

      • Yes! My ex always thought I was manipulating him when I cried or got upset. I never understood what he was talking about. I was showing feelings!!

        • Mine would say “quit the waterworks” and NEVER in 38 years even attempted to hug, hold or comfort me when I cried. My sons would say “oh, mommy you need a hug” on the rare occassions i cried in front of them, and they would give the best hugs ever.

          The dead eyed stare started much later, mine used to have the softest light brown puppy dog eyes. Now they are black, cold and very chilling.

          Shortly before discovering Schmoopie, I opened a piece of mail from an attorney and learned of a huge $1.2 million dollar property lawsuit going on that he had hidden from me for many months! (He lost that suit by the way, and is paying off a negotiated, reduced settlement thanks to the atty I engaged. We nearly had to file chapter 7 bankruptcy, we had to do all the paperwork and be ready to file as part of the negotiations) what a jackass. We are being sued in another partnership lawsuit ongoing for 4 years, that he has greatly minimized, and finally I have had to obtain my own council to protect myself from Conflict of Interest because of his doings that I knew nothing about! I was never involved in his business, but unbeknownst to me he made me Chief Financial Officer so I am implicated!!! How can it be legal to appoint someone as an officer without their knowledge or consent? This man has put me through sheer hell.

          I finally stopped trusting him as I slowly realized that he was always lying about eveything, big or small. Talking to him was like nailing jello to a wall. Never a straight answer. When I said “How can you go about lying and hiding everything?” And he replied “It’s just my fatal flaw” with a smirk on his face and a laugh. That look is called “Dupers Delight”. Scary. I realized waaaaaaay to late that he is all about doing what he can get away with. He has been a serial cheater all along and I had no idea.

          Well, the legal noose is tightening, and he is in total denial of the reality he is facing. Wonder what Schmoopie will do when she finds out he’s broke, is a con man, probably will be found guilty of fraud, owes IRS back Taxes, student loans, over 100k on credit cards ….more money than he will ever be able to repay. And he will have to pay spousal support too. I’ve heard he is already cheating on Schmoopie. Nice!

          Last time I saw him was in court. He was found guilty of criminal contempt of court charges in a civil proceeding for blatently defying a stipulation by the judge! Oh, I forgot, rules don’t apply to Mr. Wonderful.

          He couldn’t/wouldn’t even look at me, his stbx wife of 36 years. How does it come to this?

          I can’t wait to be free of this monster. I don’t know this man. He just found a vulnerable window to live with and support him who believes all of his lies.

          I was on to him.

          • Made you CFO? If I know my narcissists (which I do) he planned on you taking the fall a long time ago.

            • Einstein, I’ve learned its quite common in marriages…. But the husband usually tells his spouse about it. It’s a major problem when the spouse isn’t ethical. He never thought he would be held accountable. Rules dont apply to them… I dont think he intended harm, and he has indemnified me, but thats not worth the paper it’s printed on. He just doesn’t care and has been very careless with my life. We are both being sued separately, (by an investor who is a lawyer no less) so I wont take the fall for him, though he could take me down with him. Legal costs are doubled now that i have separate representation. I hate my life!!!

    • Kate50, no real bonding abilities, that’s why he did it when you were emotional. It made him uncomfortable because he didn’t understand it and if he doesn’t understand it then it must be insincere. He had no empathy so he couldn’t connect with you…or any other living creature, for that matter. They’re incapable of connecting.

      It’s ironic to me, though, that they think we are too emotional/dramatic/whatever….do they not realize the anger/rage/hatred/fear/self loathing they feel are ALSO emotions?

      • You know my Mother and I were discussing this, and something occurred to me, he never pets our animals, our golden retriever who craves affection, he pushes him away or tells him to go when Charlie comes up to him. We also have two cats, they are afraid of him, they run if he even goes near them. This is something I never noticed until these days, but it always happened. Mom told me from now on in my life, trust my pets reactions to people and watch the reaction of people towards my pets. Just from this, I realized why I have no connection with him, he is incapable of connecting with anyone, just material things and people are just another possession to him.

        • My ex only wanted cats because, in his mind, they didn’t require any care.

          I remember when we visited some friends who had a new puppy. We were all gathered in a small dining room, the Coward’s back against a wall, hands in his pockets. The puppy went over to check him out, get a cuddle and a smile. All the ex could do was muster a sneer, and kept his hands in his pockets. I was mortified. I wondered what was wrong with him. But I got out my can o’ spackle, and went to town.

          His little woman has two chihuahuas and loves animal rescue. I bet he loves that about her–she’s so special. Or, he hates it, because those dogs take attention away from him. I wonder if she sees his coldness yet.

          • I knew something was missing in my ex when he focused his pet hobbies on fish, snakes, and tarantulas because as he said, “I don’t want anything to get too attached to me.” Truer words were never spoken. Wish I had been paying attention then. He even confessed that he didn’t love our wonderful dog, who was our “child” since we didn’t have kids. That was when I knew I wanted out. Dogs, kids, wives… all need attention, emotion, and love. Which he simply wasn’t able to give. Needless to say I got the dog in the divorce.

        • My ex worked with animals but he could also be pretty cold to them. We once had a dog that needed surgery and when he brought her home he just pitched her in the garage like she was garbage. I remember going out and she was shaking and obviously in pain, I brought her inside and made her a pallet and tried to make her more comfortable.

          Another time a bird hit our glass window and broke its neck. I brought it inside and put it in a shoebox on some towels and stroked it as it died. He kept yelling at me “It’s just a damn bird!” like I was the stupidest person in the world. How can someone be so heartless? His mother was there and said “She’s just sensitive,” like the problem was me.

          • Yeah, like your compassion was a weakness. Pah-lease. Compassion is the most beautiful & most valuable trait a person can have.
            How people treat the weakest beings of the world; the elderly, babies & animals shows their own worth.

          • Wow Lyn, you just hit on something for me. My ex-wife came from a long line of sociopaths with broken marriages. I am not kidding when I say all the women from her mother side of the family has been through divorce. One of her aunts uses her kid to extract money from her ex-husband and has never had a steady job. She’s in her late 40’s and goes from man to man living off them.

            My ex is already well into the same pattern and she’s half her aunts age.

        • Unless they are hurting them, the disinterest in pets is not a red flag for me. I’m not a pet person. I’m not going to harm an animal, I just have no interest in having one.

      • this made me laugh so hard…not because narcs are funny…because it is so perfect!
        I call it pink housing…

        I was pourjng my heart out to ex narc…and he had that stare on the whole time…and then? outta his mouth….”Look at that pink house!”

        Never mind I was actually crying…just…look at that pink house…

        WOW..FUCKING NUT JOB!

    • Kate50 so very ^^this^^! When my stbx actually got to the “I’m leaving our marriage for my 24yr old ho-worker” statement, a week after dday, I think I actually fainted. As I was lying on the floor, I could feel that cold stare and he just annouced “ok, well I called your friend, I’m going now” and walk out. Wtf. Do these people have no souls?

      • I sort of collapsed the morning after the huge blowout and he walked out of the house and left the kids to deal with me. I kicked him out after that.

      • I never wanted to bring this up, but I was such a broken woman after finding out what STBX was doing that I attempted to take my own life one night with some pills. I regret that so much, I was drinking at the time (liquid courage) and since I did that, I haven’t touched any alcohol after that night coming up 9 months July 27. I was alone at home when this happened and STBX was up north working (AP lives where he works) and he didn’t come home till 5 days after that happened, and even then he only stayed for 2 days and left again back to work and left me alone. So yes, they don’t care at all. This man was my husband for 25 yrs of my life, we raised 3 children together. I’m moving in the process of moving right now, 200 miles away, movers are coming Monday. I’ll never look back!

        • You aren’t alone in that, Kate 50.

          I got 8000 miles away. Awaiting sale of common property, then off I toddle to the land of Meh.

          I’ll buy you a hot cocoa when we get there.

          x-Meh.

          • Thanks Mehphista, I’d enjoy the cocoa with you! You know, I think about all the terrible things I’ve been through over the last 8 months since D-Day and now I’m starting to think about some of the good things that happened to me too at times (silver linings). I found out who are my true friends/supporters for one, I quit drinking which I know deep down I had a problem with, but I think it was my crutch over the last 4 years when my marriage felt so wrong, I learned what was wrong, it was STBX’s affair. I hit my bottom with the drinking that terrible night, but now I’m in recovery, going to AA and meeting the most honest of people there, I’m making real friends that help me so much. I’m meeting new friends here at CN who are real honest about life too as we share our stories with each other trying to recover from the pain we’ve all endured in our marriages.

            The biggest thing that’s changed for me is I’m building a strong relationship with God today, he’s filling up that void I had in my life that neither alcohol or STBX or nothing else could fill for me before. I’ve been working the 12 steps, the first one was admitting I was an ALCOHOLIC. When I accepted that I was ready to do some real work on myself. One day recently, my sponsor told me to remove the word alcohol from the first step and replace it with my STBX’s name. I did that and read it again along with steps 2 and 3 that follow. It was a powerful experience for me that really helped and gave me the courage to follow through with leaving my STBX.

            Here’s the 3 steps that had the change for me:

            1.) We admitted we were powerless over STBX (name), that our lives had become unmanageable.

            2.) Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (That was God for me.)

            3.) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him. (I believe my gut instincts, that nagging to leave STBX comes from God, he was there for years telling me something was wrong with him, he was being unfaithful to me. I just didn’t listen to him and drowned him out with alcohol.)

            I am listening today and since I made the decision to leave, absolutely everything is falling into place with ease and feels so right, I’m now convinced that God is guiding me in my recovery from both my alcoholism and my toxic relationship with STBX. With both of those removed from my life, I’ll be on my way to living a happy fulfilling life that God has planned out for me. Take care XO

            • What a beautiful story! I for one, am very proud of you!
              I drank too much, for the 3 1/2 yrs I was figuring out if I should stay, or go, and X was romancing the neighbor (and acting like it was no big thing, just a friend, just a party, Blah Blah). It was a trip through Hell. And, when they told me 2 yrs later, that I had a large patch of calcifications in my breast, I just knew – that’s when it happened, because the rest of my life I was living mostly happy and healthy. My belief, anyway. I am now post lumpectomy and cancer-free.
              You keep on your good path, best wishes to you Kate50!

    • Same here! Just gives me a cold stare, like I’m from another planet. I think he’s incapable of any empathy….and like many others here on CL I seem to have a selectively deaf WH. Never seems to hear my questions first time, just stalling for time, trying to remember how he answered that question last time it was asked…….you don’t need to try and remember how to answer a question if it’s the truth!!

    • I was tearing up as I related, to the STBX, my son’s sweet conversation the day before with our neighbor, who was ill. We’d just rec’d the news that he had died that morning. As I started to cry, he barked at me “What the fuck are you crying about!?” I felt like I’d been slapped. In his case, I think it was revenge. Best served cold. Kicking your wife when she’s down is just a good opportunity, especially when she questions your online activities. Hateful.

  • I got the “I hate your guts and I hope you rot in hell” dead eye stare about a week before Handout Boy took off. I was simply saying “Hey next Friday is such and such. We should do x-y-z on that day.” Then I got the dead eye stare. I thought he didn’t hear me so I repeated. Still got the stare. He already knew he wouldn’t be around to do said thing. Hence the no reaction.

  • In my case, it was fuckwit’s wheels spinning trying to sort out the lies he already told with what the new finding was. Just buying time to come up with yet another thing I won’t believe. Then, when I say i don’t believe it, it turns into gaslighting & blame shifting.
    In addition to the “dead behind the eyes” stare, he would do the “deaf technique”. I’d ask a question and he’d not address it all, as if I never said it/he never heard me and move on to another subject he liked better…typically blaming me for some ungodly thing or a poor sausage routine.
    It’s mind-boggling how these twisted pieces of shit operate.

    • Freedom, when he was trying to sort his lies out did he often act like he didn’t hear the question and/or ask you to repeat it? Mine did. I’d ask him something then bed go “huh, what?” when I dam well knew he heard me. He was just buying an extra few seconds to conjure up a lie. It never worked….

      • Jamie,

        Oh yeah! Big time! And you know why it never worked? Because we are smarter than they are, both intellectually and emotionally. There’s simply no reasoning with crazy.
        Did you find that their AP’s were all just as dimwitted and emotionally stunted? I sure did. That’s what they need to feel good about themselves….someone eagerly lapping up their lie soaked verbal diarrhea.

        • My STBX’s MOW left me some voicemail’s when she was drunk, called ME a white skank whore, ME the whore lololol!!! She also told me to not call her husband any more or she’ll call the cops, her husband returned my call when I tried to get a hold of him to tell him of my discovery of their affair (which he didn’t care about because he said he cheats on her and she’s just getting him back!) . When I played them for STBX to hear (more than once btw), STBX cringed and said she was just drunk, she’s not always like that. OMG, have at her, you two deserve one another. They’re all dumb, my IQ dropped trying to deal on their level I’m sure. I’m on my way out now, moving 200 miles away from all this garbage.

        • Freedom, we are only 20 months out but his girlfriend is very young-read naive. She’s not stupid, though, quite the opposite. He goes after women who are too good for him but lack self esteem & don’t know their worth. If this girl figures him out and bails then I imagine his life will be filled with shittier & shittier options. Fingers crossed!

    • Oh yeah, many times when I’d talk to my husband he wouldn’t give any response, like I wasn’t there. Sometimes I’d get frustrated and ask if he would please look at me when I was talking to him, but he refused. Sometimes he’d repeat back everything I said to prove that he heard me, but couldn’t be bothered to respond.

      • I had this too Lyn, he’d repeat everything back parrot fashion and not even take his eyes off the TV

        • The lack of eye contact used to make me crazy. He would come home, walk straight by me without looking at me or saying hello, open the mail and huffily throw away junk mail, bark orders at our children about their homework, then go upstairs to his stupid man cave. If I had something I needed to discuss with him I’d then have to endure the humiliation of walking into the room only to have him continue staring at his computer screen without looking up or keep talking on his cell phone dead-eyed staring past me as if I wasn’t there. Never once did he look up from the screen to ask what’s up or say to the person on the other end, hang on a second, so he could find out what I needed to talk about. Such a smug, arrogant, entitled little baby.

          Now when we need to discuss anything about the children I look past him or at my phone while he’s talking and then start walking away so he has to follow me if he wants to continue the conversation or get an answer from me. And when I see that he’s about to pull a sneer and shake-of-the-head at me in preparation for walking away in feigned discuss, I walk away before he has the chance. It drives him crazy. Of course it doesn’t affect the outcome of our discussions, which usually go in circles even on basic scheduling issues, but it is satisfying nonetheless.

          • Feigned disgust, I mean! My other favorite was the silent treatment where he would walk around all Sneeches-on-the-Beaches at me, as though my mere existence was so offensive it wasn’t even worth acknowledging.

  • The dead eye stare I got many times after D-Day was like “I have something to say but I cannot say it for obvious reasons”, an oral censorship, equivalent to the thick black line on a secret document review by the CIA.
    And before D-Day, after I had him flewn back in emergency from the Eastern country hospital (where OW had been visiting him every single day), he had an empty stare all the time. He was lying on the bed with his broken leg and he looked like his brain was fried, flat EECG. I had no idea what was going on, so I assumed it was the shock of the broken leg at the sports club there.

  • To me its that don’t care look as to say so what.I can do whatever I please.They feel they are kings and kings are not answerable to anyone.They don’t have consciences,hearts or sympathy so what do they have to feel guilty about.Your pain is your problem because its your fault they cheated.They are busy chasing after new conquests to worry about you and your need for fidelity.They have that look to say I am in charge and I can manipulate and control my way out of every question,scenario and circumstance.They say she is still here asking questions so she must still care.I will control her with my silence.I have gone through this with my serial cheater.Its over so no contact works for me unless he has to talk about the kids.People who are reading this do not breed with a serial cheater.

    • Grace, I agree completely with you.

      They have no conscience, heart or empathy so basically, they don’t *feel* anything.

      No contact works – unless you have to speak with them about kids but stick to the topic you need to discuss only, nothing more. My daughter doesn’t tell him some things and I have learned not to ‘fill him in’ anymore.

  • I think they’re trying to look dignified instead of scared that they’ve gotten caught… and hope their betrayed spouse doesn’t see the wheels of their brain skidding out.

    (Hint: We do.)

    • The mindfucks are both blind AND deaf! I always thought the wall would respond faster! The blank stare = Fuck you !
      Brains..?? Do cheaters really have that? I always thought they just had a big hole where brains oughta be.

      • Blank stare = F You

        Yes, I think the blank stare may be a small version of a narcissistic ‘silent treatment’, something they are famous for.

        • Stare + stony silence= ‘you aren’t worth an answer’/I am superior to you’ in the mind of the narc.

          In other words, “I will do what I want because I can”

          • Sigh….We ALL get it, James. We don’t need your validation.

            Regarding your last comment to me: you are unable to understand Mehwillbesoogood’s post because unlike us, Mr self proclaimed psychopath, you have no compassion, empathy or understanding of human emotion.

            • I am not being ‘tetchy’, James. Just stating the facts….But you are showing your disorder…..you have totally launched into outer space and I have no idea about most of which you are referenced.

              I have had two of your kind in my life and I will now do with you what I did with them—-

              chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp

    • I got that when I told him that I checked his phone and discovered he had set up a PIN for it to keep it locked. I THEN announce matter-of-factly that people do that when they are hiding something. I got the silent dead-eye stare. I could see that he was trying to be nonchalant…and that’s when I started digging into cell phone records. Bingo.

      • Ah, yes, the wonderful cell phone records. That were in my name, because I had a job. While I was working, he was texting his new flame, and I counted 27 on one day. That was when I knew in my guts, and when his lying began.
        But I am so grateful that I could check those cell records in the early months, when I was planning my escape!

    • “Lied? I am incapable of such a thing” – Thinks cheater as she stares, and hides face (Wheels spinning on what version of the truth she can tell next)

    • “Quick! Let me do something to neither confirm or deny that I’m busted.” – Engage blank stare.

  • I got this a couple of times after I filed. In my Ex’s case, it was accompanied with a very slight smirk. As if to say, “yeah, you got me. But look at what I’ve done to you so, Ha!, joke is on you!”

  • This was another a-ha moment for me the (as Nomar said) BS (bullshit/blank stare). Then someone followed up with, they could do this for hours but you cannot compel someone to say (or do) anything (learning this over and over with my teenagers). This is my wasband and kids passive aggressive way (cause they learned it well as we/I fought to understand the idiocy) to accept no blame and offer no remorse/excuse. I guess I was always seeking some logical/rational reason or waiting from him to own his shit as it were for his idiotic/hurtful behaviour. He knew I had other things to get done – paid work, house work, child care, meal prep – if he remained in BS mode for long enough, I had to move on. He knew I would spakle over it, I had other things to do. In hindsight, it’s brilliant. Silence let’s the chump fill in the blanks – and for a long (too long) time, I invented/constructed plausible excuses I could live with. It’s just another time, a light goes on for me and I’m thankful to understand behaviour and be out of a terrible marriage. If I extend this, this is how to teach your mom or spouse, not to ask questions. One you won’t get one and two, your subconscious on some level, knows you don’t want to hear the truth (some things you can’t unhear and they require action like filing for divorce). But thx CL, I’m still learning the layers of f’dupedness

    • Physics! “I had other things to do. He knew I had to move on”

      Hello! That’s it exactly.

      Mine knew I’d forgive quickly so the less effort he put forth the better for him. He knew I’d give him the benefit of the doubt, so better not to incriminate himself.

    • Physicsgal, I too am struggling to raise a teenager whose front line coping mechanisms seem to emulate those of her father (charm-rage-selfpity-deadeyedstares-denial). But she goes really, really easy on be charm because she is too angry at me (or the world) to throw much charm my way. Her maladaptive behaviors, poor relationship and coping skills are not really working for her; but she can’t really see why yet (she is a teenager). Maybe her genetic destiny is to turn into her father’s mini-me, but I can’t accept that yet. I’m trying to help her cross over (use the force, child) but so far have been unsuccessful. It completely breaks my heart to think she will live her life this way…

      • This, right here, is why I don’t believe that a cheating spouse deserves any time with their kids.
        They cheat, they can fuck off as far as I’m concerned. People need to stop pussyfooting around this issue that these people are BAD for children, especially their own.
        Because, next thing you know, they turn out as sick personality-wise as the cheating fuckwit.

      • I am same-same. Turns my blood to ice, that thought. It’s a tightrope to walk between age appropriate, non-editorial candor, and the GENUINE need for her to know there are some really dangerous people out there, and her Dad is one of them…..so I fuck up all the time. Jeez, I used to get triggered when she acted like him….but I think she has had a chance to see for herself the results of her Dad’s behavior, and her own, when she chooses to emulate him. It doesn’t get her far.

        But me and the kiddo have been away from the non coparenting shitstorm for a while- two years soon, and she only sees him for a month in summer. That was her choice. She is coming in to herself, and it’s wonderful. A friend told me, shortly after Dday that the kids grow through it. Seems to be true.

        Hang in there.

    • Physics Gal

      I think you summarized the cause of the stare very well, and unfortunately, against a conscientious person it is effective.

  • My ex-wife had a look on her face when confronted that was a cross between taking a shit and sucking a lemon. That look on face transitioned to shrill crying as she jumped from couch to couch chomping on our throw pillows.

    • omg yes! the stbx would have these jumping up & down hissy fits when he didn’t get his way lmao

    • I am so curious about this, have been ever since you wrote about it for the Cheater Freak Christmas contest.

      So was this something she only did once, or did she pillow-gnaw every time she was stressed or questioned?

      Was this something she did as a child to to cope? Chewing on random objects?

      Do you think she was honestly freaking out and had to chew on the nearest object to distract herself or was this an attempt to distract you so would you would stop asking difficult questions?

      How the heck do you respond to pillow-gnawing?

        • I bet she got so damn overwhelmed that she reverted back to early childhood to cope. Seriously. I understand freaking out when your entire life comes crashing down….but when YOU create it…seems a bit overdone to chew on the pillows. Haha

        • I’ve loved this story ever since I first heard it. Not to minimize what had to have been a horrible and seriously freaky experience at the time, but it’s just such a comical image. If you think about it, though, it makes perfect sense that she would stuff a pillow in her mouth. Like a child trying to stuff the truth back in.

          • It was definitely surreal, I remember standing there in shock as she had her fit and it was like she was possessed.

            I can laugh about it now, sadly the throw pillows tragically died a horrible death. I liked to throw pillows and may they rest in peace.

    • This is exactly how my wife looks. I likened it to her trying to turn a turd into a diamond. Unbelievable how similar they all are.

  • Shark eyes when I asked if he was screwing escorts in San Jose when I found a web page of a local place on his PC after he returned from a trip to SJ. “No! But I will!!!” was his reply.

    Sheer panic stare when I busted him. And then again after I located the MOW spouse and indicated I was contacting him.

    But never really the dead-eyed state. I think that’s because he has been a pathological liar his entire life and knows how to model or project/portray feelings that normal, emotionally healthy people show in times or happiness, stress, sadness, etc… Let me come back to this one in a few. I’m sure I’ll get there once he gets a legal notice.

    • Mine said at one point “You are lucky I don’t cheat on you”.. is that some kind of reverse psycology?

      • Mine proudly proclaimed one day that he was so proud of himself that he had been faithful to me for the last 13 years (we reconciled after splitting after Dday #2, married a total of 23yrs). I still shake my head at how dillusional cheaters are with their lies. I’m convinced they completely believe the shit that comes out of their mouths…

        I got the dead stare when I got him to sign the separation agreement, which he did without even really reading it. I was tearful and trying to hold it together and he just looked at me like nothing was happening… Made me feel like I never meant anything to him.

  • The dead eye stare may be the result of not being able to respond fast enough. X was stupid. Juggling the phone numbers, names, dates, lies and responses taxed his cheater brain. Throw in the alcohol and weed with all that and blank stare emerges.

    Howvdo they keep track of it all? If discarding your wife and children are so worth it all one would think it’s a relief for them after divorce. Perhaps it’s just a slip of the mask. That’s my vote. Everyone who sees him since he moved in with piggy describe him as looking completely different with odd oersonality changes in character. Mask off.

  • The dead-eyed stare is often accompanied by the stony silence. I got more of the latter because I did a lot of my confronting in the dark, because he was such an avoidant coward he wouldn’t talk to me if there was a chance of seeing me crying.

    In my experience, it’s the long pause while their brain races trying to figure out the least unbelievable answer that will get them into the least amount of trouble.

    • Same with me regarding the Stoney silence and confronting in the dark. Most of the post dday talks happened late at night when I woke him up to talk because I couldn’t sleep.

  • I think it’s a combination of things:
    -The imagine management covering the fury at being discovered
    -Maniacal self amusement
    -The internal conflict of wanting to admit they hurt you on purpose and not wanting to lose the kibble source
    -A glimpse into what’s really going on in there; nothing
    -An arrogant attempt to make themselves appear more clever & conniving than they actually are…like they’ve “planned this all along” when they really haven’t
    -Rage from being held accountable
    -I think they want you to fear them, as if this stare indicates they’re some kind of grand evil mastermind that is all powerful and you should be afraid
    -A culmination of all the past slights (or perceived slights) they’ve experienced throughout their entire life coming to the surface and you becoming the symbolism of why ALL those things happened and why they’re so unhappy
    -The silence that goes along with it, IMO, is the theory that if you say nothing you can’t be held accountable…one of Gollums favorite infantile delusional tactics

    Gollum brought out the dead eyes many times in many settings. Sometimes it was just his “resting bitch face”, the expression he had when he forgot to put on his fake smile or didn’t realize anyone was looking. Sometimes it was upon being caught in a lie and I could tell there was in inner rage that set in from me uncovering it and then having the nerve to address it. Sometimes it happened at the onset of a disagreement, he’d literally just check out…I assume he developed that from 20 years worth of being dominated by his aggressive mother…I imagine he used going numb as a defense mechanism. Sometimes it came on when he had been drinking and lost control of his ability to be fake nice.

    As I said above, pleading the fifth was Gollums favorite tactic. If he didn’t want to be held accountable for something he’d go silent or say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” to get out of whatever it was. I imagine this might be a tactic a young kid might find useful but a grown man? Typically the dead eyes went hand in hand with the stonewalling. Along with those were other behaviors he would exhibit when trying to quiet the narc rage inside;
    -Rubbing his face obsessively
    -Running his hands aggressively through his hair
    -Pacing
    -Obsessively cleaning something when he rarely ever cleaned a damn thing
    -Avoiding eye contact by busying himself with something, but not actually “doing” anything. For instance, when we are discussing something now that he wants to avoid but can’t (about our daughter) I do it in person because he’s much less aggressive. When I do anything aside from submit to him completely, which I never ever submit, he busies himself in the back seat of his car. He leans in and essentially moves shit around aimlessly. It’s fucking bizarre. He literally picks up papers, trash, a shoe and sets it back down in another place. And when he finally does crawl out from the back of the car….dead stare.

    Lol.

      • Paint that picture in your mind and think of that if you encounter any troubles today. Hahaha. Imagine what my expression must look like as I stand outside the car watching him do this, puzzled & appalled by it.

        • One time when he emerged from out of the back seat I asked “you all done in there? Find what you were looking for?”

          Insert mumbling about an important paper and then him fleeing as fast as he could.

          He also fiddled with our daughters car seat for, no lie, 20 MINUTES as I introduced myself to his girlfriend. I bet she was wondering why he didn’t have her back for that awkward meeting.

          • Better Jamie – what an excellent post! You put it out there exactly what I couldn’t put into words and I related to about 95% of it. Amazing – the more we find out about these creeps, the more we realize we’re not alone. Thank you.

            • If you relate to your ex fiddling around aimlessly in the back seat of his car to avoid having to engage you, as well then I think we may have married brothers. Lol. Funny enough, Gollum does have at least 2 brothers with the same sociopathy.

              • Crivens. It’s a clan. Mr Fab had similar brothers……what a whack job, TBJ. Perhaps he needs a pillow to gnaw on….

              • Totally agree, Mephista. Maybe I’ll grab one of the dogs toys instead and he can have a gnaw at that.

                PS-it’s his dog. He left that behind too. Lol

          • I think it’s cognitive dissonance brought on by fear when they realize they’re caught dead-to-rights doing a no-no. But… perfect beings such as themselves don’t feel fear… or so they need you to believe. So they are stuck in an internal struggle to not react, because reacting would mean you are right and they know it.

            … or maybe I’ve spent waaaaayyy too long trying to untangle the skein.

      • I think Gollum wanted to look like he was thinking deep, philosophical thoughts. I also think he was trying to massage his head to draw the lies to the surface.

        • For those poker players amongst us….isn’t that called a “tell”? I never noticed my XH’s tells until I started actively cornering him and observing him closely while he was telling lies (when I knew the truth already).

          I would make a statement like “Well, I wonder how your calling this woman will sit with her HUSBAND?” or “So you don’t think you’ve harmed anybody by having unprotected sex?”

          He would immediately turn his face away, it was a sudden and knee jerk response. Almost like I punched him. Then he would just as quickly recover and face me with whatever quick thing that came into his head.

          The other is what I call the “mouth swipe”. You know…when you take your thumb and forefinger and run them down the corners of your mouth real quick, like when you’re clearing something off the sides of your mouth? Every time I confronted him with something truly egregious, he did that.

          • Sphinx, that’s interesting and you’re right, that’s absolutely his “tell”. I do know that touching your head/hair/face/ears in general is a subconscious sign of discomfort. Gollum always seemed as if he was uncomfortable in his own skin, like he was forever restless and could either burst or shrink & wither away at any moment, depending on his mood.

            I know I tug at my ear when I get nervous but hopefully that’s not a sign of hidden sociopathy. Lol.

    • “A culmination of all the past slights (or perceived slights) they’ve experienced throughout their entire life coming to the surface and you becoming the symbolism of why ALL those things happened and why they’re so unhappy”

      That’s it in a nutshell with my stbxw.

      One (of many) complaints I got after confronting her about her adultery: ” I made myself small for you! ” expressed with emphatic pseudo-emotion but in combination with the dead eyes thing. That sounds awful until you think about it for a second and realize that it actually makes no sense whatsoever without specific examples. I.e., it’s temper tantrum tactics, not a rational discussion of marital issues.

      • She made herself small for you? Did she mean that literally, like in a physical sense, or that she submitted to you?

        Either way it’s a weird statement.

        • TBJ – not sure, I never did get an explanation and I’m not going to try to untangle it. In her view, I’m responsible for anything wrong with her life: unfulfilled dreams, feeling bad about herself, you name it. No way those things could’ve been a direct result of her lying for 15 years of our relationship, right? 😉

          • I get it. And you’re right, not worth untangling. I assume it means she “did you the favor” of her presence all those years….she was held back from her big dreams and life goals by being with you.
            Makes perfect sense. *sarcasm*

            • TBJ – exactly. That, and I suppose also complaining about the invisible chains with which of obviously chained her so that she couldn’t accomplish her dreams. Never mind that she racked up $100k in debts and penalties, in secret (much of which I ended up helping her pay), that couldn’t have hampered her life, right? 😉

    • TheBetterJaime, I think you hit the nail on the head with your reasons for the blank stare. Bravo. What a brilliant way to convey disdain, hatred, refusal, and insignificance to your spouse.

      • lol, no chest beating for my ex, he’s the least alpha male I know. Chest beating would be too obvious for him, he fashions himself a sly, shy, passive, relaxed type. He’s above the typical aggressive overt narc behavior….he’s a REFINED narc sociopath.

        Now my disordered father? Oh lawd we could be here all day. Here’s a little taste of what growing up with him looked like: imagine you & your mother watching your dad from the house as he’s inside your detached garage having a literal temper tantrum by flowing obscenities and stomping/hopping around while repeatedly picking up and slamming down a 2×4 that was to be used to repair the pool deck. That went on for upwards of 20 minutes, until he ran out of steam.

        He also once threw himself down on the gravel driveway of my childhood home and kicked his legs, thrashed his arms and pounded the ground with fists clenched because he was angry.

        I had forgotten about those stories. Yikes. I wonder why I didn’t find Gollums abusive behavior all that bad….

        • LOL your father sort of sounds like my ex I got a laugh imagining him rolling down a gravel hill stomping and flopping around. Thanks for that.

          • Hey, you’re welcome! Hahaha. If finding my fathers wacky ass behavior humorous is any indication that some day I’ll only laugh and feel no twinges of pain when recalling my ex’s behavior then I’m glad for that.

            I thought my dad was the worst….until I met Gollum.

    • Better Jamie– pretty near got it perfect in describing my sad sausage. Mostly the comment about “there was nothing there”. Stupid to the Nth degree. He would also use the body language of a 5 yr old girl. Complete with arms crossed over chest and lower lip stuck out with nose in the air. I’ve never seen such emotional immaturity. And he was 65.

    • TheBetterJamie

      The lack of planning on what he would do after he told me he found someone else and wanted a divorce fit the X

      He couldn’t make simple plans never mind long term. Yet he rearranged his entire life around a whore. Suddenly his life had possibilities.

      What he never counted on was that I would throw him out and file for a divorce. I’m not surprised he regrets his fucked up life.

      • Oh Donna, right there with you. Gollum absolutely got caught with his pants down (pun intended). I don’t think he ever thought he’d get caught…and he almost didn’t. We were divorcing from the abuse & toxicity and I think he thought he had gotten away with it. But it’s not like it’s brain surgery to check phone records, just in case. There it all was.

        I also think he planned on getting rid of me first but he didn’t have his ducks lined up (at all) and I kicked him out before he was prepared. It didn’t help that first OW was actually playing him, or he was having delusions that she might actually want to be with him…either way, she didn’t want him for anything more than some attention.
        Talk about the shock of a lifetime; I had put up with so much escalating abuse for so long that he never dreamed I’d have the nerve to flip the switch and just be done with him. Because this all caught him so off guard his immediate reaction was to just retaliate with all the terrorism he could muster, which was a lot.

  • I think the blank stare is like a commercial break. “Let’s pause from our regularly scheduled show so that I have time to come up with more bullshit to feed you”. I remember that look when he said he was going to be at his favorite bar and when I went by (several times) his car wasn’t there. When he got home I asked what he had done that evening and he said, “I was at the bar”. I told him that he was lying because his car was never there. Insert lengthy blank stare. “Oh, so that is how it is, you don’t trust me and need to check up on me now?”. Gaslight much!?!?

    • Yes. This. My catching him in a lie always turned into a discussion of how I don’t trust him enough. Blameshifting. Gaslighting. Crazymaking.

  • Before the dead soul stare I got “what’s that?” to buy time to come up with the appropriate excuse du jour.
    The smirk accompanying the soul-less stare came later on, after I discovered what it was. The alien in the human suit became vengeful after it’s discovery. No remorse, no backward glance (after years and years of participating in the facade). Worst feeling was after I endured a death in the family. The day of, as I lay crying, the pos said I hope you’re not going to get hysterical. I’m still waiting for the karma bus ….

  • Yesterday I too read that and thought of the moment when I knew my marriage was flying into the dumpster and got the Dead Eyed Stare!
    The unraveling of his life long secret life and discovery day began over $$$. I had caught him twice previously in an account with unexplained withdrawals. He fed me a lie. He then followed that lie with a promise he would not do it again…(another lie). DDay, when it was vomited on the kitchen floor (the TIP of the iceberg), I assaulted him with “YOU LIED TO ME!!!” I was gifted with the Dead Eyed Stare. My adult children said to me when I shared this with them said, “Mom, he was just trying to figure out which lie you were talking about!” I agree too that it could have been the window to his empty soul.

  • I had a former boss who almost certainly had some sort of personality disorder and he did the “dead eyed stare” regularly.

    Ask him a relatively simple question? Dead-eyed stare.

    Ask him for an update on a project to which I have devoted hours, and only need his signature to hand off to our production department? A project that has stalled on his desk for two weeks? Dead-eyed stare.

    Ask for time-off for a funeral or wedding? Dead-eyed stare.

    Inform him of a problem you’re handling, but you think he needs to be aware of? Dead-eyed stare.

    Ask him not to delete your in-progress files from the server, destroying weeks worth of work? Dead-eyed stare.

    Believe it or not, I preferred the dead-eyed stare to the vicious yelling or emails that not-too-subtly implied that I was a useless idiot.

    After I quit (chockfull of workplace PTSD!) I had to analyze why this cruel, immature, angry little person would do this and I came up with some theories:

    – He wanted me to feel like the dumbest person on planet Earth. The dead-eyed stare said, “I would speak to you right now, but you don’t have the brain power necessary to process the wisdom I would have to spoon-feed you.”

    -He wanted me to panic under his “scrutiny” and fill the space with confessions of my mistakes and idiocy.

    – He wanted me to feel like I had no right to question him. If he responded with a dead-eyed stare, I would be too intimidated to ask questions.

    -He wanted to cultivate an air of mystery and menace, like he was Michael Corleone staring down a foot soldier that disappointed him. (“Don’t ever ask me about my business, Pucksmuse.” “But, sir… i work for that business!”)

    -He honestly did not know how to process regular human emotions.

    -He just plain sucked.

    He was shocked when I quit and considered me “disloyal’ when I would only give two weeks notice. I left and wrote a comprehensive guide to what I did daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, and how to complete those tasks so he wouldn’t need to contact me. It didn’t stop him. When he did, I told him to refer to the guide I left him and hung up.

    I thought I had a handle on it, but I had full-on panic responses every time my (awesome) new boss gave me any sort of negative feedback. Even though she was awesome and didn’t employ any of the mind games former boss did, I was convinced it meant she was going to fire me. She finally sat me down and said, “Look, you’re doing great, but you can’t freak out every time I point out a mistake.” I had to tell her what happened at my previous employer and she was very sympathetic. If not for her understanding, I might still react that way to criticism, constructive or otherwise.

    • Ooh. This is a really interesting one. I totally see how that could be maddening in the workplace.

    • Interesting. My stbxh, would use it at work too. We have a business together. There were times in group meetings where it was clearly his time to weigh-in and he would hold us all hostage with a ridiculously long pause. This happened many times, and I thought it was his way of demonstrating just how powerful he was. He also did it at home when I’d ask a non-threatening question. He would yell at me if I repeated the question (assuming he hadn’t heard). Maybe your boss felt more powerful when he held you hostage with silence?

      • I think it was more contempt based than a power struggle. He really, really, REALLY didn’t like me.

    • Holy shit. I went through this too!
      In my case it was my direct boss, and her boss – my direct boss would lie through her teeth and try to mould me into a perfect (in her eyes, basically ‘do exactly what I say’ bullshit) employee – her boss would be the one who did the dead-eyed stare combined with gaslighting.

      I found this site and started lurking, mainly because I sensed something was VERY off with those two people, and I wanted a means to protect myself from their fuckwittery (combined with stonewalling and abuse from my boyfriend at the time). Its weird, because they enabled people who were useless and incompetent, but the ones who did their job properly would get undermined at every opportunity. It was basically a huge cesspool of bullying, harassment and subterfuge.

      In the end, and this was as a result of reading CL’s articles about personality disorders mostly, I realised that, to mortally piss off an NPD, you need to ignore them (No kibbles for you!). And ignore them/not give a fuck for their ‘hidden rules’ anymore – within the bounds of legality and not doing anything outright which would get you fired from an ordinary job, I did.

      Funny really – because there was a place closer to home where I always wanted to work, but could never land a job there on account of no job openings – this very place called me about a month after I found CL – and offered me a job there, no interview or anything! I took the job without any hesitation – and the next working day I had a note of resignation in my hand – which I handed to my direct boss with only the following words: I have had enough. Said notice of resignation had no reason as to why I was leaving – and I never let on to them that I had another job. It was none of their business, and given that they were personality-disordered fuckwits, they deserved no response, or worse, would have used that info to sabotage. I essentially washed my hands clean of the place and stopped caring.

      My current job is awesome (the place which gave me that phone call), though I do have that same feeling of thinking ‘Am I in trouble?’ every time I get called into the manager’s office – mild PTSD, who knows?

      The karma bus was this: I heard through one of my colleagues at this job, that my old workplace has essentially crumbled to its knees.

      • I am so glad you managed to get out of such a toxic place! And that you are thriving in your new job. There is nothing like the feeling of actally being appreciated!

        • Thanks Koru, I’m glad too. Been there a bit more than 12 months now, and already been given 2 raises. Which is more than that old job ever did (This is a job, where this, honest to god was said by the ‘blank stare’ superior boss: ‘If the patient lists are the usual size, you won’t be able to take tomorrow off to visit your aunt in hospital’. And my aunt was dying in hospital, too. My response? “I will be taking tomorrow off, irrespective of your so-called ‘patient lists’. Get someone else to cover it, like you do for everyone who takes days off for trivial reasons.” I visited my aunt in hospital, which ended up being about 24 hours before she passed away.)
          And yes, 1000x that – that there’s nothing like the feeling of being appreciated. Also, being respected for your expertise.

  • I’m going to go with the fact that they are simply stupid or morons! My EX was never particularly smart, but he thought he was a “learned man”. His own Mom & Dad told me that they always knew I was smarter than him and then laughed heartily about his stupidity and his affair! What does that tell you? He is vacant with no REAL feelings except the feeling he gets doing some idiot whore!

  • Lawd. You guys are hitting the nail on the head. I love the following observations from this thread:

    “Perhaps it’s just a slip of the mask.”

    “I think the blank stare is like a commercial break. ‘Let’s pause from our regularly scheduled show so that I have time to come up with more bullshit to feed you’.”

    “Silence lets the chump fill in the blanks.”

    “In my case, it was fuckwit’s wheels spinning trying to sort out the lies he already told with what the new finding was.”

    I think all of these are true. My STBX gave me the dead-eyed stare when, after giving him a dozen chances to “just tell me what was going on” and he denied there was anything, I brought out the love letter to OW I had just found. Zoinks.

    And even now, almost a year past D-Day, he wants the lies and gaslighting to continue so he can keep kibble flowing in from multiple places. When I nonchalantly said “Hey, I think I should meet (a brand new) OW if she’s going to be hanging out with my child every visit,” he dead-eyed stared for the longest 30 seconds ever, standing there with my front door open and the toddler hopping around on the front stoop. Like, no conversation or redirection whatsoever. I think it was a combination of being shocked that I knew about her (of course I know about her, you canoodle with her publicly in the town I grew up in, my toddler has mentioned her by name several times, and you really think you can go to Mexico with her and me not find out about it?), and trying to come up with the quickest lie possible.

    The sad part is, she seems like a decent lady and because of his expert manipulation skills, has no idea what’s in store for her if she sticks with him.

    Oh well! Anyway that was a funny incident when it happened.

  • And a side, but IMPORTANT note to our Nation Newbies….FOLLOW THE MONEY. The financial infidelity goes hand in hand with secret lives.

  • I got the stare along with the arms crossed. It is the denial pose. The passive aggressive ” I am gonna just sit back and watch you figure it out for me” behavior. In the last three years he was so good at the blank stare of ” I do not really want to deal with anything in my life so I will let you care and fix and kibble for me.” He was so checked out and day dreaming about his entitlement. Who cares about the two beloved family dogs being put down. Who cares about your adorable aunt dying, the father having open heart surgery, the mother terminally ill and the mother-in-law with demensia. Who cares if our son needs us to help him find a college. Who cares if our youngest is having trouble with bullies. Who cares if our daughter is withdrawn and having trust issues. Who cares if wife is having menopaus symptoms…I want my dick sucked and you are too tired… WTF? I will just go flirt and impress the young girl at work who makes me feel 30 again instead of dealing with our family that needs me to be a man right now. The blank stare is the window into a cold heartless bastard or bastardess.

  • The soul-less stare is made most apparent when the topic is something that is gut-wrenching to you, yet conjures no such human emotions in him. Like, “So, did you ever really love me?” Commence cold, lizard eyes.

    This cold stare happened with other minor things (“That was a fun dinner party….now let’s clean up the food on the counter”…..cold stare and no response), but didn’t bother me as much then, since I wrote it off as him being tired or a bit obtuse. But when you’re sobbing, or he’s telling you he’s leaving you and the kids? The coldness stands out like a sore thumb…..an empty, black void in contrast to normal human empathy.

    • This previous post you shared is my exact experience written by someone else. It helped me heal so much. Invaluable information in there.

  • i never got the dead eyed stare.
    I got something scarier – a complete and utter lie to my face my looking me dead in the eye…..

    Me (suspicious but clueless): “Look into my eyes and tell me: Is anything going on with x?”……
    Eye contact between the two of us……
    CH (while locking eyes directly with mine and laughing a little): “Nothing is going on. I’m here. I love you.”

    hmmm…..that was probably 4 months before Jan 2015 d-day and two-plus years into his affair with someone 26 years younger than he is.

    And I am still with him, trying to reconcile?

      • I agree! TiredChump please run as fast as you can straight to a good attorney! On the way home pick up some really cheap black garbage bags and place his shit on the curb! Save your dignity and time for someone who will appreciate it! And take one half of your bank account with this POS BEFORE you file for divorce at the attorneys office!

  • LiningUpDucks, yep, I got that one when I asked him if he ever loved me or was our marriage of 40 years just a lie and a sham? I certainly wanted to know after four kids? But all I got was this deer in the headlights stare that seemed to go on for an eternity! I believe I actually did get my answer though! Me and the family meant less than nothing to him! His “dick warmer” GF was more important than our previous lifetime together! It hurts, but at least I’m finally in the know!

  • I got this exact stare as I was sobbing after finding out about my XH affair with my friend.
    I found out about the affair after her husband came to my house and tried to beat the s**t out of my H, H ran away leaving me alone with the guy and out 2 kids screaming in terror (what a guy eh?).

    On his return about a day later I sobbed “how could you do this to me?” and got that stare as he told me Your tears mean nothing to me!!! The coldness of that sentence has always stayed with me

    I won’t bore you with the long version of the story but we did try to reconcile(!!!) I think mainly because I was afraid to go it alone; I had no support network and, of course, no chump lady back then. This was a complete disaster of course as it was always still about his pain and his feelings of guilt. However something that night had forever changed me and over the next few years I went from being a timid mouse to a real kick-ass gal and decided to kick his ass out……..finally!

    Except of course NOW he realises how much he loves me, he can’t live without me, he’s broken-hearted, how can I do this to HIM?????

    Karma is a great thing, sometimes you have to just wait for it to happen, as he was in a heap sobbing I simple turned to him and said Your tears mean nothing to me………

    As a postscript I’m not usually a cold-hearted bitch but in this case I did make an exception……..and it felt good!!

    • “Karma is a great thing, sometimes you have to just wait for it to happen, as he was in a heap sobbing I simple turned to him and said Your tears mean nothing to me………

      FTW!

  • All I can say is I can’t wait for the whores these people hooked up with while married get the Stare themselves. It probably won’t take long either.

  • No doubt NotJuliet, but right now these bubble-headed OW’s believe all the BS our spouses fed them! I too am glad she has him now and all of his problems. He has become a nightmare health wise and it tickles me pink knowing that she will have to change his diapers! Karma is a bitch and it visited them in record time! Mr. Sexy is all hers now! How romantic!

    • So true, Roberta. I’m wondering, though, do you think she will actually stay with him through his illness? Cause your average cheater will usually cut and run at the first sign of anything physically unattractive. Age, weight gain, childbirth, disease. Or maybe she will stay and cheat on him. That would be super karmic, for sure.

      • My ex- loves to demonstrate affection towards our female dog in my face. He misses her soooo much ! In contrast with not giving a rat’s ass about me (and we never had an argument, all was fine until D-Day, go figure what’s in his twisted mind, the satisfaction of displaying undeserved cruelty I guess).
        However, I am convinced that if our dog gets sick or incontinent due to old age, he will be quick to forget her inconvenient existence. As not Juliet briliantly puts it above, the first sign of anything physically unattractive, or the first sign of weakness, will earn his contempt.
        As if he was perfect. As if I didn’t take care of him when he had a broken leg or when he was sick. As if he always looked good and perfectly groomed.

    • She won’t be hanging around through the nightmare of recovery after a Whipple procedure. He’s gonna be on his own then. He’d better be checking out the local home healthcare companies if he knows what’s good for him.

      • I agree Glad! I guess the recovery is brutal in a variety of ways, but his “world class surgeon” has told him that he’ll be “tops” in two weeks! Somebody is slinging bullshit I do believe!

  • I’m working on a theory that my ex-wife was actually an insect. Insects have no eyelids, so no blinking. Right now the smart money is on Preying Mantis, though strong plays are being made by Bed Bug and Dung Beetle.

    But seriously, I think my ex usually gave me the blank stare when I finally chased her down all the rabbit trails and found out a secret or a lie. Having nothing left to say, she stared in cold condescension, as if to say, “Boy, it sure took you long enough to find me here. You must be incredibly stupid.”

    • Ha! Yeah, except insects actually provide a useful service in the ecosystem, but cheaters are useless fucks.

      But this makes me think of an episode of the X-files called Folie a Deux. There’s a call-center manager who looks like a totally normal, benign middle aged guy to everyone except one employee who can see the reality — the manager is actually some sort of giant insect who sucks the life out of the employees one by one and turns them into zombies. It’s a great episode.

      • Hm. Sounds like a storyline I’m familiar with. After you’ve been chumped you tend to understand stories about vampires a lot better, too!

    • When I was first involved with XBF, I was IN LOVE with his expressive eyes….beautiful dark brown with long eyelashes like a baby. They ‘smileyzed’, twinkled and seemed to have an inner glow. He also had a light blue ring around his pupil. I was mesmerized. We always locked eyes when we spoke to each other.

      I remember one evening as we were having a discussion I told myself that I had just seen the ‘look of love (for me!!!) in his eyes’….

      The very next morning I was sorting out “was he with his ‘former’ gf last evening?” THAT was the first time I experienced the ‘dead eyed stare’. He wouldn’t look at me, was staring straight ahead. If I positioned myself in front of him, he shifted position. Then he changed to pacing…….pacing ……pacing. Refusing to acknowledge my questions—a blank wall.

      I was ENTITLED to answers to my questions. He felt entitled to not answer.

      • I meant ****’smized’**** above.

        Wow, was my interpretation of the look of love off the mark. That twinkle was merely the reflection of his devious mind high 5’ing itself for the evening’s planned deception.

  • In my case, I think the dead-eye shark-eyed stare was a, “Anywhere but here right now” look. He just was done with me. He was in love with someone else, and I was just a noise and a bother at that point. The last thing he wanted to do was to feel any affection for me. So he closed the curtains behind the eyes, and retreated inward.
    I wonder if he gave the kids the same look? I’ll never know, I guess.

    • Same here. It was less of a blank stare as it was “Really, do I have to listen to this again? Aren’t you over it yet?” Complete with eye roll. So I guess I answered that question when I asked him for a divorce. I’m over it now, loser!

    • MS, don´t think that he loved someone else…the dead eye stare means they don´t love anyone, not even themselves. They can´t understand love, its not in their register of feelings…they only understand human animal not human spirit. They are very basic beings to begin with, like insects…no consciousness, no evolution going on in their system…they are primitive

  • Whenever I caught him in a lie he’d just give me a nasty look, the blank stare and say in a condescending voice, “we’re done here, nothing else to talk about”. Shouldn’t surprise me though…. He buried his head in the sand every time one of our 4 (now grown ) children had a problem. Including 14 years of substance abuse with our son. He turned his back on him & I stood by him…AA meetings, probation appointments & now he’s been sober 2 years. My idiot husband has turned his back on 4 great kids & 5 beautiful grandchildren. He can keep his blank stares…. No one seems to miss him…

    • Same here 42enough! Four kids, eleven grandkids and 41 years of marriage and he texts me this, “We’re finished”! Just lovely!

    • I’m no good an embedding…

      Ex didn’t save that look only for me.

      The mediator got it.

      The therapists for both out daughter and “us.”

      So much so that both therapist asked me if he had Aspergers’s Syndrome because he was so slow processing other people’s
      emotions.

      I think the elevator shaft if very fitting, because it always felt like, if I said something to him that didn’t fit into his justifying narrative easily it would be like one those maze games where you try to fit the ball into the hole tilting carefully…it would feel like he would be rolling something around I said, during which time you get the shark’s eyes…when it didn’t fit he would just…

      …tilt..

      and roll it off into an abyss.

  • Wow. My X must have been an ‘advanced case.’ He had — and still has — the dead eyes almost ALL THE TIME. I had just never noticed. I thought it was part of his quiet, introverted personality. I thought of him as my “gentle giant.” In fact, after he ran off with his mistress, and I was fumbling about trying to rebuild my life, one of my acquaintances told me she had never liked X. When I asked her why, she said, “It’s his eyes. They always seem dead.” It was that comment that caught my attention and I started noticing his eyes. Scary.
    Next week marks 10 years since D-Day. Recently, I was culling old photos and saving a few to start keepsake photo albums for my children, and my 10-year-old son wanted to look at the pictures with me. He has no memory of his father ever living in our home. “Mommy,” he asked, “How come daddy never smiled in any of his pictures?” Those same dead eyes were staring back at us from every single picture. Even in the few pics where X’s mouth appeared to be smiling, his eyes still had the same dead look.
    We eventually ran across one picture out of hundreds in which X seemed to be genuinely smiling and his eyes had a little expression in them. My son grabbed the picture was so happy and excited to run show his sister the one happy picture. “Look — finally here is a picture of Daddy smiling!!!”
    We added it to my son’s album, along with the dozens of pictures of my husband – who is now my children’s adoptive father – smiling, laughing, grinning, holding and hugging and giving shoulder rides to my son. This is the man who has raised my children as his own since they were very small. Who ran through the sprinkler with them. Who taught them how to shuck corn, ride bikes and throw a baseball. Who reads to them, prays with them, and tucks them in bed every night. This is the man who broke down in tears while reading “The Giving Tree” aloud to his stepchild’s kindergarten class.
    We have gone from the man with “Dead Fish Eyes” to “the Man with Melted Chocolate Eyes.”

    • “Those same dead eyes were staring back at us from every single picture. Even in the few pics where X’s mouth appeared to be smiling, his eyes still had the same dead look.”

      MissDelta – I’ve noticed this too about pictures. Also in some, it’s like his eyes are wider than usual like he’s trying not to blink but that deadness is still there.

    • I always had a hard time smiling in pictures with my STBX wife. Now that I’ve escaped I see myself smiling much more.

      Meantime she still has the same Stepford smile pasted on 24/7.

  • I’ve been hovering around this site for the last several months. So many great posts and comments. It is amazing how, while each of our situations is unique, the actions, expressions, sayings, lies, and deceptive acts of our cheating spouses are all nearly identical in the end. This post in particular finally got me to sign up and comment because it rings so true for me, god I hate that lost stare.

    My wife was/is in a LTA with a COW and since I don’t have too many answers (and she will admit to nothing – I get the lost stare or flat out ignored every time), I have to fill in all the blanks myself. Probably a big waste of time in the end, but it’s human nature to need to look back and figure out what part your life was actually true and what was a lie.

    Anyway, just a big thank you to all of you and CL for giving me a place to gather my wits and to help me understand that I’m not nuts.

    • As sad as it is to get hard evidence – it is helpful to know you are not going crazy. My intuition was flashing red hazard lights since last August, and even when I found some photos and receipts I still made excuses for at least another month (doesn’t everyone take their younger by 26 years coworker to a museum and birthday dinner while family is away on trip he couldn’t attend because of work.)
      Luckily my good friend, and sole confident, told me she thought I was in serious denial and encouraged me to start doing some espionage
      I now have enough evidence to “know” what went on for over three years. I just don’t “know” what to do next.
      I also joined Chump Lady because the advice seems so logical, and exactly what I should do / would tell my daughter, sister friend to do in my situation – however, I am so shocked/sad/overwhelmed from the past few years of deception and the fact that my husband could do this to our family – that I am slightly immobilized and immersed in reconciliation process.
      Chump Lady and all the posters are awesome – reading this site is like having coffee with a good friend who tells you like it really is……….and makes you laugh out loud in the middle of what is a pretty sad situation.

      • AND FYI – A really helpful past post for me was “untangling the skein of fuckedupness” — I have spent way to much time figuring out why CH did this – work stresses, mid life crisis, fear of dying early like his dad, no close friends, problems with his mother and sister, etc. – but honestly, all that analysis of him is just so I don’t have to think about how I feel………..

        • I was you for three years tiredchump. I came here and my eyes opened for the first time. It took about 8 months after I read the first post and I finally got the courage to ask for a divorce.

          I spackled too, and tried to untangle the skein but I think you’re right and CL is right. It’s just a distraction to avoid doing what we really know needs to be done.

          Sorry you’re going through this. Sending jedi hugs your way.

        • Thanks, I’ve read that post many times — and the Trust That They Suck one, and the Cake Eating (where I think I still am now), and the Pick Me Dance (which I think I am still doing at some level). And I bought the book. It all makes sense and the road’s right there in front of me. I just need to take it — it’s easier said than done though as we all know.

          • Lost and TiredChump – welcome here as much as we all hate to be here. Thankfully, I found C/L almost immediately and did everything right, thanks to so much brutal wisdom and advice from both genders. I don’t know what chumps do without this site to guide them. I am almost at meh (almost 1 yr post D) and I wouldn’t have been here near as quickly without Chump Nation.

    • Lost2015- I can relate. My STBX has never admitted to affair either, despite damning evidence. I suspect it’s gone on several years, since this “friend” has been around for quite some time.

      I too want to fill in the blanks, I am an information person and I like to have all the facts. Before nixing the marriage I wanted to make sure I knew ALL. Turns out it doesn’t really matter.. I knew everything I needed to know at dday even before I discovered the whore. He’s just not that into me. He’s the kind of guy that would throw away a wife, two young sons, to go “have some fun” and for “excitement, and passion” and “a new future”. To hell with the pain it’s causing. To hell with me, our kids, our extended family… it feels good to HIM and that’s all that matters.

      I am sorry you are here Lost but you will make it. You aren’t crazy, and you aren’t alone.

      • Thanks for the kind words. I found out late last year and I think I’m at the point now where I realize I’ll never know everything. I just have to get my wits about me to the point where I can just end the marriage and move on.

    • Lost2015: A good technique to fill in the blanks, when you’re desperately seeking answers:
      Assume its always the worst possible thing – if you suspect they are cheating – you would assume they are a serial cheater. Assuming things can sometimes bring you to be more objective and ‘distant’ from the whole situation, so that you can process and heal from it.
      The worst case scenario might be true, or it might not be true, but it helps to build the ‘puzzle’ of uncertainty I guess.
      Its what worked for me, but everyone is different and this might not work for you – disregard if its not.
      Sending well-wishes your way!

  • I’ve mentioned this before so sorry for the repeat…the first counselor we went to peg us both during the initial session. She met with him individually next, then both of us again. In the second joint session, he admitted to more affairs than the one I caught him with but not all. She met with just me next. That’s when she told me that she had previously worked with sex offenders and my then H made her more nervous than many of them did. A big reason that he made her nervous was his blank stare. She said when she looked in his eyes, she only saw the back of his head because there was nothing there – no caring, love, or empathy at all. She had to force him to tell her about the other women in the individual session and she told him he had to tell me in the joint one. She had asked him how many there had been over the years and his response was ‘BBC will be hurt whether it’s 2 or 52 so it doesn’t really matter’. Then she told me she wouldn’t see him anymore and she was going to refer him to a male counselor but she would continue seeing me if I wanted, which I did. She also told me then and there that I needed to get as far away from him as I could. Of course I was dumbfounded and being the chump I was, I didn’t right away. She was spot on and I will always be grateful for that even though it took me a while to believe it.

    • Consider yourself lucky! My counselor during Dday made things much worse for me; gave horrible advice, coddled the cheater etc…, but I was so shocked and paralyzed that I kept going. I’m sure every chump here will agree that a counselor like yours is worth their weight in gold!!! Stick with her!

      • ItsAJourney, she was awesome. Unfortunately for me, she went on maternity leave and decided to stay home with her kids. Also unfortunately, the male counselor she referred cheater to was not nearly as good – he was way too easy on cheater, believed his lies, and didn’t hold him accountable. Cheater snowed him for a while until I busted him *again* then quit counseling. The counselor apologized to me.

    • Right there in a nutshell Supreme Chump! They don’t care about anything or anyone, not even their own asses, truth be told!

  • I am sure there are many things rattling around inside that self-important head. From my experience it seems that stare might be part of a learned response. It goes along with “the smirk” maybe. Kind of like a deer in the headlights. They just lock up for a period of time until the danger passes. Then they mount the defence mechanism of choice: blame you, rage at you, run away, deny.
    The look always left me wondering, why don’t you understand? Until I finally stopped trying to figure it out and just moved on to acceptance.

    • LOL! Like a possum, or a fainting goat!! Right. Must be a cheater/narc stress response.
      “Its better to be thought a cheater than to speak and remove all doubt” — IAJ

  • In my case I know my cheater has had years of practice with the stare.I’m new to this serial cheating thing and he is a professional.I know he is skilled at manipulating women.I know that this is one tool in their arsenal.A weapon to use to destroy someone that has a heart because serial cheaters don’t have one so they bring out the big guns in the discard to leave you bleeding the on the floor.He’s a true murderer in every sense.My step father is so crass.He said my ex is a toilet and I’m trying to dig in shit to find out answers from someone that is a toilet.These people leave destruction in their wake even the children are not immune.

  • that dead eye stare is the AP mating call. It can be detected across oceans.

    AP’s mating response?

    Returned dead eyed stare, glee, sexual excitement, plans for next rendezvous or future twu wuv life together in Cancun timeshare (cuz AP’s chump got French villa in their divorce)

  • After 30 years, just before the separation, I looked her in the eyes and asked her if she ever loved me because I now see that she never did. There was complete silence and bottomless, soulless eyes. Nothing there at all. That was my answer. My heart sank into hell.

  • I got the blank stare very recently. We were chatting on Skype, so it felt very weird. The image on the screen stopped moving and I wondered if my computer/network froze, but no, he was sitting there saying nothing with no expression. I was telling him that I had found a cheap and exciting weekend in Saint Petersburg at the nearest travel agency, that we could go in June, and I was even willing to pay the whole thing if money was tight on his side, because I knew how bad he wanted to go to Russia; for the reconciliation, it would be a great trip to do together !
    Blank stare.
    “What is it ?” “How come you’re not happy ?” “Why all of a sudden don’t you want to go ?”
    Blank stare that lasts a minute
    (I insist)
    Blank stare that is going to last several minutes if I don’t stop Skype
    “Okay I’m not going to sit here waiting for your answer forever, I don’t know why you don’t want to go, but YOU know why”
    Cheater’s anwer: “Yes.”
    A couple of weeks later, he announced that he was taking two weeks of vacation in June because a single Russian lady was flying into our area and he was willing to drive her around and could I please take some vacation too so we could all have fun time together, since he was not interested in her ?
    Crazy.

  • I also got the dead eye stare, but thought of it more as a dead stare. I finally came to the realization that stbxh is dead inside. He’s a hollow man. There’s nothing much going on inside other than sex or money.

    I finally got so sick of the dead eye stare that I began staring back in silence… just to see how long he’d hold his gaze. On a couple occasions he stared so long I thought “this guy is a nut”. He usually just turned and walked away.

    Even creepier though, he would stare at me from where he was sitting, even if we weren’t engaged in a conversation. Made me wonder what he was plotting.

    • It’s a Journey, I also caught the creepy ex staring at me a lot when he thought I wasn’t looking. U never was sure what to make if it. I never got the blank stare cause he was always busy shifting blame for everything to me.

      • He stared at me while I was sleeping (in fact I was conscious). It freaked me out. It felt like he was scrutinizing my physique, trying to decide whether it was bad enough to dump me.

  • I think they blank stare so that they don’t have to admit or deny. Then you will tell them what you think is wrong with them and take it upon your self to figure them out. While you are busy trying to figure out/fix them, they are still enjoying cake

  • I found out my stbx cashed in his Roth – he didn’t know I knew. One night we were fighting and I brought it up. It was like deer in the headlights. SHOCK that I KNEW about him cashing in his Roth. The next time we fought and the Roth was brought up – he had an excuse this time. His lawyer told him to cash it in to pay her. RIGHT…..
    The blank stare is the “OH SHIT,” she knows and I haven’t had time to think up a ‘logical’ excuse for my actions.
    I spoke with my stbx the other night and it was quite comical. He told me people asked him “Did you really get a phone line?” His response to them was how for so many years I neglected him and things were SOOO bad at home and I always said NO to sex and he kept all this misery in for soooo many years. He finally got himself a phone line, behind my back, to ‘talk’ to someone about his sad life his wife created for him. So he tells me that people now say “Oh you poor thing – you went through all that hell and NEVER said a thing to anyone?” Yes – he is the victim. He is the victim because of an accused ‘affair’ I had 15 years ago and he continues to throw it in my face. And yes – I thought our marriage was pretty good the past 10 years. So he has issues with something that happened (which really didn’t) 15 years ago – but he decides to get himself a phone line 2 years ago. Huh.
    The rational and justification for his actions are actually pretty good. He is a fantastic manipulator. Too bad I get half that Roth – that he paid dearly for in tax penalties last year – and half his pension. How’s that for manipulation ya phone fuck?

    • Projecting is a pretty common theme with them. The ex accused me of cheating at least half a dozen times. Once he was so crazed with anger he left our kids who were 8 and 5 at the time home alone so he could “check up on me.”

      He found me alright. At the time I was working 3-11 to make some extra money for school. It was a Friday night and 4 of us (all women) hung around a little later about one of the wackadoos that worked there. Maybe not very nice, but we were just letting off steam. We were only there about 30 minutes when he came screeching around the corner doing like 50mph in the parking lot to yell at me like I was 13 or something.

      I was mortified. There were many other instances but I put up with it because I had nothing to hide and I spackled and told myself he had low self esteem. I couldn’t believe it when I found out he had an affair but not that long afterwards I read that cheaters often accuse their faithful spouses of infidelity because they assume everyone does what they do.

      I found out about one affair but now I realize there had to be more. He was projecting for the entirety of our marriage.

  • My ex’s dead eye stare was just like looking into a vacuum. There wasn’t anything remotely deep about it. He had simply checked out and I was of no consequence anymore.

    The most chilling experience I have ever had was seeing those dead eyes when I told him I needed major surgery for a rare cancer. He turned his back on me and went back to OW knowing I was alone and frightened.

    Something snapped in me that day. I finally saw who he was.

    • Verity297 – holy crap! That’s terrible! What a f-cktard to turn his back on you like that, at that moment.

  • I have a theory: With so much of their energy diverted into their “downstairs brain”, it leaves no energy to focus anything upward – hence the lack of activity that would manifest into some display of thought or emotion through their eyes. 😉

    Actually, I first glimpsed that reptilian look when we finally had the I-want-you-to-tell-me-why-you-lie-and-cheat conversation around the dining table:
    Me (this is the abridged version): “So, you have admitted to cheating with______ and you are aware that still continuing to go behind my back, being deceptive and secretive, has caused me to not trust you, and to basically destroy our marriage, but you refuse marriage counseling. I want to know – why?”

    (Looking down at his plate) Him: “I don’t know.”

    After several seconds he looked up and we locked eyes. I stared right back at him – refusing to back down. His eyes looked like blue-gray marbles – as if they could pop out of his head, they would be hard as glass and would roll around the table.

    I should have left him the first time I knew he was cheating, But I am a chump and was still on a Hopium high. I thought it was my duty as a wife to stick it out and try to get our marriage back on track.

    That look, that “you are dead to me” look I received from him that night, finally made me realize that there was no way to save this train wreck.

    • “His eyes looked like blue-grey marbles-as if they could pop out of his head they would be hard as glass and roll around on the table.”
      Wow. What an incredible description. You just sent chills up my spine.

      • Yes MissDeltaGirl65, I don’t beieve I’ll ever forget it. In fact, when I was going through the first stages of No Contact, and I would have (an insane) moment where I was missing him, I would just think about that Creeptacular stare (thank you CL), and it would stop that thought in its tracks.

  • I got the blank stare many times. It was like no one was home, just an empty shell. I couldn’t figure out if he needed to think, but that was me being chumpy. One night lying in bed, I asked him when he had become such a liar. He replied, “I don’t know.” Probably the only honest thing he ever said.

  • This post is so interesting. I got the blank stare many times. I think it’s when things aren’t fitting in and going along with their playbook. They don’t know what the next play is when confronted with our knowledge of the truth or our emotions. They don’t have a card to play because they didn’t plan for those things because that would require considering the impact of their actions on others. We know they can’t do that. That’s narcissism. They don’t have the ability to care about the feelings of others.

    • And I’m getting to the point (2 years after Dday and 1 year after divorce) that I would a thousand times rather go through the pain of the whole ordeal and be a real, feeling person than be an empty person like that who can’t have compassion for others and who can’t authentically connect.

  • I got the dead stare when he told me he wanted a divorce (never mentioned the affair, only my short-comings). I was hysterical sobbing and asked how he could do this to me when I had just lost my mom unexpectedly 10 months before. He looked at me with shark eyes and kept saying: “There’s no good time for a divorce.” When he was done, he actually had the audacity to ask if I wanted to go for a walk with him and the dog. Uh, no thanks – I was busy ripping pictures of him and his ugly-ass family off the wall.

    The smirk appeared a few weeks later. I’m assuming it indicates he was armed with the power of his whore’s “love”. Things that he had agreed upon when this stuff started were taken off the table, divorce was pushed with through at record speed. Last time I saw him was when he had me served with divorce papers. He had shark eyes then too and kept telling me that he “had to protect” his interest. Never felt rage in my life until that moment – literally an out of body experience…when I remember it, I see it happen from above.

    • Nah, not narcissistic depression at all. You don’t get the blank stare when things are going really badly for them. I’ve seen my ex when he’s suffered a big narcissistic wound, both while we were together and after the separation (he was a wreck for a few months at one point, after he tried to come back, I wasn’t interested, then our kids dumped him, then the OW dumped him. Even work wasn’t going well!). Narcissistic depression looks self-pitying, miserable, low, sometimes angry. The blank stare is something else altogether. It’s the stare of a shark looking at potential prey, completely cold.

      I only got it once that I really noticed; I’d told him we were finished, after finding out about Affair #2. He seemed fine with that, said I didn’t need to move out, he would. We talked to the kids about this decision, said we’d be separating. When she went to bed later, our daughter, 11 years old at the time, was crying and crying. He sat beside her bed, stroked her hair, and said ‘we’ll do everything we can to avoid a divorce’. A little later I asked him what he meant by that, and he gave me that cold, cold, wordless look. I insisted, did he mean he was willing to try to work to maintain our kids’ intact family? Same look.

      So then you know, eh? ‘Not only am I perfectly fine with betraying you and turning your life upside down and hurting you, I’m fine with doing the same to my own child, and openly lying to her about it.’

      Most of the time I think my ex is just a huge loser. But once in a while, I think he’s a monster. A minor one, but a monster nonetheless.

      • I think you are right, Karen.
        It is complete discard, lack of respect, disconnect, contempt.
        I have been in a shark’s cage and been around sharks, and those dead, cold eyes are THE SAME.

  • Sorry Unicornnomore, I know you are on honeymoon in your wonderful new life, but what you wrote was so horrific, it belongs here:

    “I own an especially disturbing set of photos… Taken by me of H at his military retirement during the worst of his Monster mode. I was holding the camera so the look at the camera was his look at me… It is chilling… Distain, unflinching contempt and unshakable coldness…a second later he turned his head and I snapped another photo that photo shows warm was, acceptance, fondness… Later it was revealed that the woman he turned to was OW. There it is ..2 photos that say it all.

    I sort of wish I didn’t have these photos … I showed them to [ ] once. They are horrible yet oddly comforting that I didn’t invent my crisis in my head… What I suffered was real.

    So I see dead shark eyes as how they see the whole world and hatred/contempt for how they see us.”

  • I remember the dead, alien stare so well. It was mind boggling and so unnerving. In hindsight – I look back and realize it was magnified by me because – at the time – it was so foreign to any of our previous interaction, I couldn’t get my head around it. For 25 years, if I’d expressed myself…he was there, ready to express back. Not always in agreement, but in accord as the person I let in and vice-verse. Then – after D-day – I started to get this non-responsive blank stare. No emotion, no comprehension, no affection, no connection…….just blank. I remember trying to rouse a response using all the old normal channels….but the frequency had completely changed. He could have been staring at a bug on the sidewalk and probably had more engagement.

    It was the toughest aspect of our break up communication I dealt with – and as I caught him in more lies, it got more frequent and also covered phone calls. I caught him cold on two separate occasions with facts he didn’t know I’d ferreted out, and when I did my big reveal? The phone went dead. Oh – he was still on the line – he just wouldn’t respond or say anything. Just dead air, just like the dead stare.

    As time went on I stopped having to communicate with him as much – and their was one time – about 6 months after we’d broken up, that we had to meet about something regarding the girls. I was standing outside his car in the snowfall, and he looked down at me in my goober snow hat and – for the most fleeting of moments – I saw him again. His eyes filled in and “he” was there. I broke the moment by saying something lame about long roads traveled, and it was gone. He never liked my overly romantic speak, and when I said that, he was just gone – in a flash. There was nothing but that cold dead stare again.

    I don’t know what that is and why it is so common in unrepentent douche narc types – but I have my suspicions. From my ex’s perspective – he just didn’t want to admit or have anything or anyone “harsh his buzz.” He didn’t want to be reminded of anything that would make him feel bad about himself. So it was kind of like a kid who puts his hands over his ears and hums loudly to drown out reality around him. He retreated to this dead zone where nothing I said could get in. I also think that people like him are master compartmentalizers. I think they literally can shut off whole chunks of their life, seal it up, throw away the key when they no longer have need of it. Then all the warmth, love, emotion, connection goes to the new toy in the new compartment…until such time as that gets boring and old and it gets sealed up. But in the meantime – and I hate to say this – it’s like we just stop existing, and all the years we had together never really happened – or happened long ago and is something to discuss with the new replacement.

    I could never bee that cold – and I am very glad for it. For all the pain and hell – I’m alive and warm and engaged with people. No dead stares for me, thank you.

    • Experienced the same exact thing.. it’s like he was a totally different person from the man I knew and loved all those years. That guy is just gone and now has been replaced by this person who has no feeling for me at all.

  • I saw his countenance change. I saw it in his eyes. Apparently no one else saw it, or perhaps no one else knew how to deal with it.
    It was enough to make my bones tremble & it said, ‘sociopath’.
    I will “steady the bus.” (To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher’s husband in the awesome movie “IronLady”) Then I will put his ass in prison.
    The best way to describe the sicko look was ‘triumph’… It sobered me up good for life.

    • I too saw the ex’s countenance change, and have tried to convey this experience to a few people. For a second, he was unrecognizable. I Literally did not know who the man before me was. Absolutely demonic.

      • I saw that face also. The night before he vanished, we were watching television and I turned to say something. He was staring at me with this absolutely demonic face. It looked absolutely nothing like him, and this is the really disturbing part, it was amused. Very very amused. I say it because it did not seem human. Shook me to my core. I turned back to the TV and pretended to watch for a few minutes. When I turned back, he was asleep. I feel now that it was amused in anticipation of the pain I would soon be feeling.

  • How about the Mad Dog Stare? Thats the one he would use ….and still uses. The fixed unflinching stare that says I am going to kill u. That look started shortly after I refused to sign the divorce paper work outa court. He could easily put on a smile and spit venom thru a clenched teeth…never breaking his smile …telling me he would show no mercy….while the other soccer mom looked on. His facial expression would change like a magician flippin thru a deck of cards. He could easily be in a rage and smile politely and wave to a passerby. PSYCHO.
    I swear on all that is holy I never experienced this in my marriage….never. Didnt miss the cues. There were none. And maybe, just maybe, the mother fucker was really that good.

    • “I swear on all that is holy I never experienced this in my marriage….never. Didnt miss the cues. There were none. And maybe, just maybe, the mother fucker was really that good.” Yep.

  • I was away for a weekend with my girlfriends when I got a text,yes a text,to say he was leaving.I got the dead eyed stare when I returned which I interpreted as his passive aggressive way of letting me know I didn’t even deserve discussion or explanation,his way of controlling the narrative,of making me feel utterly worthless.It was a Jekyll and Hyde transformation.It was as if the man I had loved so much had been abducted by aliens and replaced with a glacial stranger…his voice was different,the look in his eyes was cold,detached and remote.To say I was traumatised and completely bewildered is an understatement.
    I regret to say I did the pick me dance for a while which fed his monstrous ego.I could kick myself for that now.
    Recently however I arrived in the land of Meh.The dead eyed stare is the hallmark of his sociopathy and as time passed and I saw who he really was I began to realise I dodged a bullet and now feel grateful to OW for taking the character disordered nut off my hands.Hopefully the karma train is on the way.

  • I swear….this site never disappoints and, usually, opens my eyes just when I need it. I am amazed at how the cheaters all work from the same template! Whether it is the lines they use…ALL THE SAME….the attitudes and mindfuckery…ALL THE SAME…and now this Dead Stare…THE SAME! I think that the mind of a person with this character flaw is seriously flawed and can’t process the words when they are called out…that the brain synapses are just frying in there as they try to come up with the right answer or response. My cheater had a great line for a response when I told him a “truth”…
    “I Don’t Know That”…basically denial, minimizing and all over avoidance…CRAZY MAKING.
    Thanks for another common denominator — really helps keep me strong.

  • I admit it up front — I am an easy cry. Hallmark commercials get to me. I can cry at lunch when I read an emotional scene in a book. Perfectly fine and working one minute, and fifteen minutes later — I’m involved in another world’s plot and emotionally react . I’ve also done a bit of acting in my day — I always enjoyed plays and movies, and I had fun playing different characters — especially those who were very different from me. I never had trouble getting into the mindset. All this as a preamble to what I think about “the stare” or any of the “emotions” that the disturbed personality folks show. No offense to actors in general, or to those who have problems holding their emotions in check. I think these PD’s try to act like they think normal people act — and they can’t quite carry it off. The stare comes when they are caught off guard, and they are running through their catalog of “what would a normal person do/say” mentally, and the right fake emotion has not fallen into place. The stare might be the boundary to the void inside them. It’s like a computer search or command that gets hung up and cannot complete — the little circle just keeps spinning and spinning.

    It took me a long time to catch on. I really figured it out when I was going thru the Marriage Police phase of my life, and I started realizing the time line of words and actions. You know how you solve a puzzle by removing any piece that is impossible, and even though what you are left with seems improbable, it is usually the missing piece of the puzzle? Well that is how it worked for me. Ignore the fact that we had just had a great night, and he told me he loved me that morning just before I left the house. When I pull the phone record he was talking to OW two minutes after I left. Something happens on the news, and he makes a sweet personal remark to me. Then I read that same remark later in an email to OW. He didn’t mean the words at all — to either of us — it was just a good line that a normal person would use. He wanted to use it as often as possible, and maximize it’s effectiveness. That explains how each of the many OW could be his “perfect dream girl”. Even when they were all very different dreams, and a few were absolute nightmares!

    So I am pretty sure the stare is just a glitch in the PD system — they cannot act like a normal person acts because they are not normal. They can only sustain believable lies for so long. Every now and then, they get caught by something unexpected, or they realize that all their plotting is not as perfect as they imagined it to be. The stare is about anger, and recalculating strategy. It is the dark place before the next mask slips in place. It is who they really are — dark voids.

    • Once, when I was in the pick me phase, our MC was forcing us to go on “dates”.. it was brutal. I dressed up and tried real hard and he just stayed on his phone, barely looking at me. Snake eyes, worthless banter, no real connection.

      Once I was coming out of the restroom on such an occasion and I saw the whore’s name over his shoulder, on a text box. Looked like one of those freebie apps. By this time, he wasn’t texting her on his regular line, because he knew I was checking it. I saw her name. I was not drunk, crazy, or on drugs, I saw it.

      He says “you’ve had a few drinks, you must have just seen my contact list”. Gaslighting.. right there, in a crowded restaurant.

      That was one of the worst moments of my life.

      I was blown away that he could go on a DATE with me, on the pretense of “working on the relationship” and be texting her at the same time. The disrespect, the debauchery, the utter distaste of doing that. It made me so sick. I should have thrown wine in his face right then and left the restaurant but for some reason I didn’t. But it was a turning point.

      I do think people with normal empathy, feelings and overall decency don’t do these things. I want to believe this, anyway.

      • newchumpatl:
        after January d-day – i cracked into my husbands phone and saw he had texted/sent pictures to the OW from several family functions – my college daughters’ sorority parent weekend; Easter extended family gathering out of state, my college sons graduation, and a father son golf trip. Pictures of him with our children. So heartbreaking and horrifying all at once.

        • I hear you. Disney World Bathrooms. Beaches, Baseball games. Daughter’s recital. Sick bastards. Sick!

          • Luziana, I just about lost it when I found where my ex had been sending photos of our five year old daughter to the whore. Also, he would email her about shit we did together but made it sound like he was alone. And sent the slut pictures I had taken. Jack ass

            • My ex sent pictures of our home to OW, to show off. She was supposed to be all enthusiastic at the thought that this house by the Riviera would soon be hers.
              Actually, instead of saving the picture from the website and then sending it, he sent the link to her. And it took only a few clicks for her to discover my existence. Their twu luv went dowhill from there. (Hey maybe that’s why he says that he dislikes our house now).

        • I got A LOT of this. My cheater was trying to compete with the OM’s fabulous life so she would leverage our family outings and our date nights in the quest to impress him.

          So many of the pics I took of her in some sensual pose in some nice city, or some fancy restaurant, or some beautiful place in nature went straight to him.

          Pictures of the kids too.

          F’ing SICK!!!!

          Emotionally abusive.

          Akin to finding out I paid for lingerie that I never saw, but the OM did see and remove.

          F’ing MONSTER!!!

          Emotional abuse. Financial abuse.

          Or being out watching a good band thinking I’m having a great evening, and she needs to go the bathroom to text the OM “you’d really like this band. wish you were here with me blah blah blah”.

      • New chump Atl, I am with you. I absolutely cannot stand going on “dates” with my husband. It’s just such an unnatural thing to me. It reminds me if the mother in Home Improvement forcing the dad to go on dates. Except I’m the dad, not the mom, lol. Dress up, stare at each other, make chit chat, have sexual relations after. Makes me feel like a prostitute. Some people enjoy it. I do not.

        • Well said!
          I think the same thing can be said of people who pretend they are ‘high society’ too. Can’t stand that shit either.

      • This reminds me of the last bone stbx tried throwing to me. He had been going out constantly to all these art events, leaving me behind with our son. We’d been arguing about this regularly, but nothing stopped him from doing exactly what he wanted. He was so mean and dismissive, it had gotten to the point where I asked him- why do you hate me? Answer: ILYBINILWY. I thought we were over then, but he agreed to “work on it” after I took our son and spent the weekend away at my friend’s. He finally decides to invite me to a nice museum opening. We arrived and the woman who had given him the invitation greets us and says oh! He told me all about you (at yet another all day event he had ditched me for). She thought he was a devoted husband – his desired effect. I remember almost saying out loud: Really? He told me he’s not in love with me anymore. What a miserable night that was.

  • The dead eye stare is something I still can’t wrap my head around. How after 20 years, he has basically no feeling for me at all. Nothing. It’s broken me in two.

    When I would ask him a question or get somewhat emotional…. he never wanted to deal with it… so he either :

    1. Blameshifted to me (somehow it’s my fault)
    2. Give me the dead eye stare and leaves the room
    3. Storms out in disgust that I would ever “think” such things about him

    Funny how we have all experienced the exact same things.

  • Mine never (or hasn’t yet) deployed the blank stare. His default response is anger. That’s the mask he wears full time, but he can swap it out briefly for tragic self-pity. Can’t keep that one on for long tho, the anger always shines thru. I remember trying to explain to the MC how debilitated I was in the face of his anger, and she would ask me ” why, what does he do?” He doesn’t do anything – he just radiates pure anger and then I just lose the ability to speak up for myself. I’ve worked for some real assholes in various jobs and grad school, but I’ve never felt anything like what he can do with just eyes and set of mouth and body language.

    • Yes, not just eyes, Saddam literally made himself look bigger and he’d get in my space, or walk menacing toward me. All designed to put me in fear, worked very well too.

  • YES! The dead-eye stare is exactly what I got when I finally realized and confronted him with: You’re having an affair with her. No response whatsoever. Ug. A sickening memory. Through our very brief attempt at reconciliation I saw those vacant and furtive eyes repeatedly. Fuck him.

  • Since they are completely incapable of feeling more sophisticated emotions (regret, anguish, vulnerability, etc.) these empty vessels resort to the dead stare because they are totally confused and not in control. Think about it: because they are so emotionally immature, we probably sound as if we are crying and yelling at them in the language of the Zulu. And? They’ve most likely never observed people in a DDay confrontation so they have no idea how to behave. The only way these people appear to have emotions is by watching and parroting others.

    When I regained enough sanity to pay attention to his responses I was horrified. Only then did I realise (after 24 years) that I was married to a one-dimensional, shallow, cold-hearted replicant. It was then my whole relationship with him finally made sense.

  • I got the blank stare a lot when I was in really emotional moments. I think I have recounted this a few times here, but one thing that really sticks with me is the time when someone had said something incredibly cruel to me and I was sitting next to him, sobbing, and he was just playing away on a video game. Didn’t even pause it. Didn’t say a damn word. He stonewalled my reactions to things that had nothing to do with him, let alone things that did.

    I remember his face though, when I went to a party of a mutual friend, we were broken up at this point and had been for a while. But since the breakup I had learned about more cheating I didn’t know about before. He approached me (I had no intention of speaking to him, I knew he was going to be there, but I didn’t plan on going near him) and he extended his hand and said he didn’t want anything bad between us. I looked at him and said I knew about two of the girls he had fucked behind my back.

    I didn’t get a dead-eyed stare, I got a HolyShitsheknows Quick THINK! I saw the pupils of his eyes rapidly contract. Then he spluttered something about how he didn’t know who ONE of the women I mentioned was. I pointed out that I named TWO women. Whoops. He didn’t say anything and I walked away.

    If you’re going to lie about something, might want to cover all your bases.

  • There is a reason I call the POS Cold Slab O’Meat. He has a collection of discarded Lego Lady Whores Du Jour that he keeps trying to jam into the bottomless pit of his soul like a confused Chewbacca trying to fix a capacitor on the Millenium Falcon,

    Awwwarrrggghhhhhh! Not happy! Uuuunnnnghhhh!!!

  • I never got the dead eye stare. I got the rage stare, I got the bullshit sad puppy stare. I got the calculating anger stare where he was trying to decide if he could get away with shooting me. Nope, he never went blank eyed.

    • Same here, Dat. Never got the dead eye stare either. Cheater ex always looked helpless and sorry. I guess he can’t just couldn’t help cheating.

        • I was responding to Dat…. I never got the dead stare either…..just the ‘ I am figuring out the six differents ways I can make this look like an accident look. ‘

          • Whoa – tingle my spine with chills, The Clip. I got black eyes that replaced his Paul Newman blue eyes, and it went deeper than hate – it had the same feeling like yours did. A plotting accident. I knew I was done then and it scared me enough that I whipped out some inner-strength shortly after, citing to my attorney that I was suddenly afraid of him – and was able to get all the locks changed. That black-stare will always be with me. Never ever seen it in anybody before.

    • Yep, I know those stares. Cheater ex had one that chilled me to the bone the first time I saw it. We had been married about 4 years. I had had a fender bender and came home upset over it. I turned to him for comfort and that’s the I first saw it. That stare was utterly cold arrogant caustic hate. I’ve heard the word reptilian but never seen it before that day in him. That was accompanied by “Shut up.” in a deceptively soft voice.

      The vibes rolling off him matched the stare,….. frigid, arctic rage, light years beyond “how DARE you, you bitch.” It was “I’m going to slice you up slowly, into a thousand pieces and enjoy every minute of it. You will PAY, and Pay, and PAY. I would describe that look as looking into the face of pure evil.

      In retrospect, I wasn’t too far off. Hindsight is 20/20, unfortunately. Sometimes I really wish I had a time machine to I could go back and warn my younger self.

    • Hi dat! Made me remember when i would catch him staring at me when he thought i was sleeping. I cant believe i almost fell for the wreckonciliation.

  • My cheater texted all day with her AP from Disneyland, when we were with the kids – the day after my mother’s funeral. Now that’s cold.

    • At least your cheater didn’t have his AP show up at Disnyworld on the vacation I had so meticulously planned for my grandkids! He bowed out of a visit to the park on one day and I found out he slept with her in the rental and in the bed we slept in! Nice, huh? On the days he did go to the park he would hang out at the smoking section and she would meetup with him and take pictures! I cannot even express to this day how sickened I feel! Takes a pretty brazen whore to do something like that! Not to mention a true gutsy POS of a husband and Grandpa!

      • Roberta, I find your Disney story disgusting. Yes it definitely takes a special kind of entitlement to do that doesn’t it? My ex was quite similar – his father passed away and he and his siblings had to go to Florida to attend a service there and then he would be flown back here to be buried and have another service.

        Well, he and his brother and his nephew were staying @ a hotel, while his sister was staying with my MIL. He thought it was OK to have his AP come stay at the hotel with him. – the family that was at the hotel was dumbfounded. He was still married to me after all. It’s disgusting.

        He had also taken a trip just before his father passed to see him in the hospital – although, he didn’t care about seeing his father – it was just an excuse to get to FL to be with the AP. He could have spend one last dinnertime with his dad being up and lucid and he chose to leave that afternoon to “return the rental” – and then proceeded to stay 3 additional days in FL due to “weather” with the AP – never saw his father alive again. He’s disgusting to me now. Simply disgusting. Anyone who could put their dicks ahead of a dying parent has got to have some SERIOUS issues.

        • My EX did that too! Put the AP front and center! He went to see his Mom who has dementia and his Dad in February cause it was his Mom’s birthday and he hadn’t been there in nearly a year. Long story short, he had dragged the ballsy AP with him to shove down his Dad’s throat. His Dad had told him he would NEVER accept this woman into the family on several occasions AND we were still married! He won’t give anyone the complete story on what happened, but his version is that he went to say goodbye to his Dad and got on the highway to go back to Schmoopies condo in Florida. They didn’t even make it to the next town and he was called back by his brother. His Dad had suffered a heart attack and died. Seems Schmoopie then had to rent a car to get out of town because the whole family was going to be showing up for the funeral! I actually had talked to his Dad on Friday, he was just find and was looking forward to a visit from me. Plus his Dad had never had ANY heart problems ever! The families theory is that he tried to push the whore down his Dad’s throat, an argument ensued and he was told to leave. The upset caused the heart attack! I don’t think the family is too far off. But when his siblings asked him he was vague!

          • Roberta – OMG that’s horrible – he killed his father! Something he will have to live with the rest of his life, but guess what, he doesn’t see it that way, so there will never be any remorse. It’s simply awful how they live without a conscience.

  • Like Arlo said: ‘he just radiates pure anger and then I just lose the ability to speak up for myself.” Exactly…All my H has to do is get really quiet and then the whole house tensed up. Even if he just went cold, we’d be waiting for whatever topic he could find to vent over. The whole house was affected although we tried to be grey rocks to to deal because his Jekll/Hyde swing hijacked every trip and holiday in some way since he couldn’t be easy for more than a day or two. I’m trying to do a legal separation and I just got a year-long protection order so I haven’t seen mine since March. I hadn’t known how tense I was until the ruling day when the reality sunk in and I’ve spent the past few days just experiencing the difference, I know it’s just a piece of paper but it means he can’t text or call me and I can feel my whole body relaxing realizing I don’t have to look into the black stone lizard eyes again or just as bad, have him look at me. Especially recently I’ve felt like prey around my H. He was always staring at me but it got worse this year. I’d get the reptile-eyes in any argument he wanted to control (stop) and the smirk was another sign. Knowing he was capable of just about anything took a lot of distance from him to really accept but it’s a fact and I’m just following the advocates advice. Another odd trait mine had was saying I was ‘yelling’ even if I knew for a fact I’d been whispering to not wake the kids.. what he meant by.’yelling’ was anything negative I was sharing or even if it was constructive, he’d react as if it was criticism anyway and say I ‘yelled’…often to justify racing off again.

    • You are not alone Faith. Saddam accused me of screaming at him whenever my voice rose above a whisper and accused me of having “anger management issues” after I found out about the cheating. I’m pretty sure I did get pissed when he called his OW a saint, most of the time I did not show anger. I got very good at being numb after I realized he was trying to provoke responses so he could blame me for shit and have an excuse to hurt me. I’ve had a protective order in place since the day he realized I was really going to divorce him and pulled a gun with suicide threats and threats to me. Had it renewed 3 times now. It is just a piece of paper unless the person is afraid to go to jail and believes you will enforce it. My ex is afraid to go to jail, and I reported every violation of it from day one so he knows I will happily send his rat bastard ass to jail.

      • Good for u Dat. You are right about it only being a piece of paper…. And they do have to be afraid of the consequences… Mine is not. He has the scenario already painted out. He told me ‘ call, who do u think is gonna come? ‘ and ‘ Do it! You will look like your trying to peg something on me because I am a cop. They haven seen it a hundred times, angry cop wives saying their husband is being violent. You don’t think I don’t know how to twist it? ‘

        He is sick sick man. I hope your mother fucker finds himself in the can and made the new boy toy.

  • In my marriage, the dead-eye stare usually proceeded a major rage. It was the cold, I am watching you and you are going to hear exactly what a shitty person you are or something offensive he felt I had done. It could last for a few seconds to a day before it switched to rage. Sometimes i would try to trigger it just to get it over. At times he would follow me around with only the stare. There were special occasions that I got the stare after a rage when he was still not satisfied with the outcome. Empty, blank, and soulless. God, I do not miss that.

  • I have seen this quite a few times – it’s very unnerving. I think it’s a contemptuous attempt at throwing you completely off balance in situations where the cheater/loser feels like you’ve caught them out. It’s bullying.

  • I got the dead eyed stare. I got the smirk. I also got incomplete conversations, where he’d start saying something and stop or trail off (usually accompanied by the stare). My mom thought he had memory problems. Yup!

  • The dead -eye stare to me says, “You’ve got my number and it really pisses me off, so let me try to be slick by doing a 180 tactic on you to throw you off my scent.” This is usually followed by a smirk, an attempt to change subjects, rage to shift focus back on you, or a combination of all. Anything really to divert from that fact that you got them.

  • This is my first comment here and perhaps I’ve been giving too much credit where it is not due, but I am new at this. 20 Years Together, then Clue 1: 12/13/14; Big Clue 2: 1/28/15; Bomb Went Off: 2/14/15; Nuclear Bomb Dropped: 5/11/15 (that was when I found out there hadn’t been just two affairs of 1 year and 2 years respectively – but that he had joined Love Systems and had learned to be a ‘pick up artist’ – he forgot to delete his “sent” folder when the counselor told him to give me access to his email. He usually uses texting, so I’m sure it was a small sampling, but there were messages from an even dozen women — so, he was even cheating on the OWs. Oh, and there was a receipt for the $100 of red roses he sent a co-worker (not included in the previous 14) on 2/14/15. I got a bouquet of carnations from the supermarket (plus the news about OW1 and OW2) on that day. BUT! He really loves me and wants to try to make this work . . . Huh?

    Anyhow, I always figured the Dead Eye Stare (which I’ve been calling the Thousand Yard Stare) was him asking himself: “What lies have I already told, what new lies will calm her down so I don’t have to listen to her and which one, perfect lie might she actually believe at this point?”

    • Welcome, Linny. It’s not easy putting it out there but it can be cathartic.
      It’s damn unfair what happened to you that I can’t even imagine the ‘small sampling’ just leading to the tip of the iceberg.
      Sounds like his little fantasy life it about to come to an end from your side – no cake offered there, hopefully.
      I don’t get how they can say that they really love you to your intent face, listening, while lying with those dark eyes.
      Scary.

  • Been doing some reading on Narc/socios and I have a theory. I referred to my EX as an empty vessel. Came back to me void of emotion after his three day screw fest with FaceBook Schmoopie. I believe they “mirror” their wife/partner or significant other to not only please us, but because they are so void of any real emotion other than what they mimic from us. Once they are in the discard phase, they are like chameleons changing colors! They are learning how to “mirror” the new Schmoopie and HER personality. If you notice once they get more involved with the AP, we no longer recognize the person they have become. Makes sense to me because I actually know his new “supply” and he talks like her now and has become the male version of her! He was, during the early stages of his affair, becoming her “dream man!” Remember, these assholes are just actors in the movie of their own lives, so I believe they just change costume and ” VOILA!” They are a whole new character designed to suck the life out of and manipulate the new supply! They have no real personality, just a “part” to play!

  • This is a really hard thread to read through, and lots of the posts were triggery, even though I’m getting closer and closer to MEH. My ex had a military background, so I always excused his lack of emotional response on that. But now I see that so much of it was just an inability to empathize. A few incidents come to mind. Once, when my younger daughter was really sick and projectile vomiting on our bed just a foot behind him, he just said “Poor kid,” in this really flat voice, without ever turning his head away from the computer to see if she was okay. I was horrified, and this caused one of our biggest fights ever, especially since I had to actually *explain* the next day what the problem was. That was a recurring theme–having to explain. One one of the 2 times we went for MC, I was crying about how marginalized and minimized and invisible I felt, and he just sat there with the cold stare. The MC actually had to tell him, “Please turn to FMT and tell her how you feel hearing this.” Guess what, he couldn’t do it! All he could come up with was some lame version of “I’m sorry you feel this way,” with absolutely no acknowledgment of how disrespectful and devaluing he was being. Another time a few months later, I tried to explain to him how the only time I felt so unheard and that he never listened to any of my stories but only talked about himself. I said I didn’t feel like myself anymore unless I was at work or with my own friends–that even my own voice sounded different to me when I was talking to him. He sat there staring at me the whole time, like “This does not compute.” I’ve never felt so bloody frustrated in my life. Now I know: if you have to explain basic respect to someone, or common decency, or beg someone to listen to you, it is time to run for the fucking hills. And I put up with 4 years of this crap, along with all the blameshifting and gaslighting. Some of you guys have mentioned how confrontations about their inconsistencies became all *your* fault. I got that, too. In fact, at D-day, when I confronted him, he had the fucking nerve to say, “FMT, if you can’t trust me, that’s a deal-breaker.” Like the problem was my lack of trust rather than his complete lack of trustworthiness! Bloody hell! I’m ashamed to admit that this bullying tactic had worked many times previously.

    The one thing that really sticks in my head, though, happened a couple of months before I left him. We had gone out to eat at a cool Caribbean restaurant, and I got my cell camera out to take a picture of him across from me on the patio. He had gotten increasingly weird about photos, either with me or of me taking them of him, and he said something really cruel to the effect of, “Oh FFS, another picture.” The expression on his face was of utter contempt for me, as though he didn’t care if I lived or died, and I have never seen anybody else look at me that way before or since. Not even my bipolar, alcoholic, violently batshit crazy mom. By God’s grace, I never will again. It scared the hell out of me. That’s when I really knew it was about so much more than cheating. It was about getting as far away as possible from someone who may or may not be fully human.

    • My EX was career military and nothing, not even a sick kid, stood in the way of his career! USMC, Semper Fidelis! Yeah…… Right! Like that motto means shit to him now! I guess a lack of compassion is part of the uniform!

      • Thanks, Roberta. I think the whole military thing can go one of two ways–either people really have a sincere code of honour (shout out to Houston Dad) or it’s kind of a cloaking device for all kinds of stuff that won’t bear close inspection. I do know that he was very proud of his background and spent a lot of time bragging about it. Like you said, though, it was just a ruse. Ethics as easily removed as a uniform.

        Hope you’re hanging in there. I know you’ve had a rough go of it lately. Hugs to you.

  • My STBX has very light blue eyes. Someone very accurately described them as ‘eyes of a wolf’. He is a very silent, intense man who enjoys using those eyes to intimidate people. I have seen waiters shake when they looked at that silent angry glare. But that is when he was engaged and in the moment. So many times in the past, the eyes would go blank and he simply wasn’t there. Apparently he has done this all his life. He is aware that he does this and he knows it is not normal. This happened with great frequency as he got close to abandoning me. I think the stress of living a double life was really getting to him and it was just too much effort to hold up the ‘mask’ anymore so he just disappeared emotionally before he disappeared physically.

  • I am pretty sure that cold dead stare is a very simple emotion but one that when first confronted with it is hard to fathom.

    It is contempt.

  • Wow, your blog is so popular, I’ll be extremely lucky if you even notice this comment.

    I am a psychopath blogger and I hope I can go about answering your question.

    I have just written about staring (if you’re interested in reading and don’t mind me dumping my link here: https://nopsychos.wordpress.com/2015/07/19/psychopath-watching-you/), although it was more in the context of watching people / reading their emotions than the kind discussed here.

    There can be a number of reasons for that blank stare following an accusation and I can only relate the ones which apply to me:

    -Often it’s genuine shock and outrage that you even dare to confront me on my behaviour. Because of the way psychopaths relate to those around us, the way I perceive your reprimand of me is how you might react if a young child decided to tell you off for something you know is justified. I know, smug superiority, I get it, I’m a dick.

    -In other cases, it is as you say. The gears are whirring and it takes some time to react to what’s being said. When I was younger, and my dad was screaming in my face about something I’d done, the blank stare would often show up and that would get me in even more trouble, lol!

    -Have you ever heard of the ‘neutral face’? Everyone’s got one. It’s the face you have when you’re driving or waiting in line or just sitting staring into space. Basically it’s your default expression, the one that comes to your face without any effort on your part or any stimulus to make you react. With effort, I have changed my neutral face to a faint smile of good-natured contentment, so I am a pleasant-looking person to approach.

    But I still have a real neutral face, one which occasionally shines through when I’m not paying close enough attention to impression management (yeah, that sucks about as much as it sounds – but the alternative is worse for everyone), and that face is……. you guessed it: the dead-eyed stare. That is what a psychopath looks like with no mask. That’s the true psychopath, staring back at you. We know it’s not pretty and that it puts people on edge, which is why we create those masks in the first place.

  • I don’t think it’s a sign of just being a Narc since day one. I’ve lost track of how many guys I know whose wives of 20 years have never exhibited any narcissistic tendencies, but flipped a switch at about 40-45 . Us guys have dubbed them “Shark Eyes” , they appear when the affair is exposed. It’s like at that point they feel complete disgust for you, and are empty of any emotion for you because they emotionally latched on to the OM/OW . It’s scary to see, my X looked at me like a troublesome bug she wished dead.

  • The dead eye stare may very well be that your poor little victim here is thinking as he is listening to your words and witnessing the pain caused ” Poor little me, why do I have to be here listening to this drivel when I could be with my twu wuv, I wonder what she will be cooking for me tonight when I can get myself out of this house? May be we’ll have time for a little woo woo session as well? Now look at this old cow simpering…my twu wuv is so much more than you, lady, if you only knew…I wonder if the kids will be pissed for long though…Nah, they love me, so if they love me they want me to be happy and to be happy is to be with my true love which cannot be denied, so they ll be happy to see me with her, actually they will love her for making me happy. Look at that loser, gosh she is ugly when she cries like this…I wonder if my lawyer will force me to disclose the bank account I told twu wuv about. We’ll need the money for the new house…Look at her going at it again, she’s so stupid, no way she ‘ll get a lawyer good enough to find the account… I wonder if there is any of these chocolate chips she baked for my choir yesterday left..These were good, I’ll miss her cooking, I’ll say this for free…How early can I text PureAngel, why this is going on for so long, will the woman ever shut up? Although, I must admit I am kind of enjoying this grovelling but wait, she is switching the conversation on herself, boooooring, let’s have her keep talking about me, now that’s the ticket “………..

    Dead eye stare unmasked ( in my case in any case…)

      • Us chumps who have been on the receiving end of the dead eye stare know all too well that no heart and love is hidden behind….the cheap fake cheater is miles away thinking about HIM/HERself and his/her new love ahead. No feelings for others, no care about the future family reunions missed, nothing… Dead eye stare equals ” me myself and I and don’t I deserve the best?” Make Gaston in Beauty and the Beast look like a good-bet mate in comparison

        • Mehwill—-the person who wrote that ‘word salad’ comment has a lengthy post in here from yesterday.

          Don’t let them get under your skin….seemed like a semi troll yesterday as they were ‘explaining’ a narc’s behavior. Go back and find their post and you will see what I mean

          The word salad comment annoyed me but in the scheme of things, we know what we dealt with and what we are talking about–as you so adequately expressed.

          PS–I thoroughly enjoyed your ‘word salad’ post

          • It s just a few posts up. Says he’s a psychopath—sounds right to me. A narc looking for attention.

            “I have a psychopath blog” (“let me tell you how it is cos I’m an expert- aren’t you impressed?”)

  • The blank stare from anti-husband:

    He is jolted into reality that I have found one of his dirty little secrets and he is trying to hold back acknowledging that it is true. He is surveying my facial expressions like he’s behind a one way mirror where his actual thoughts are held at bay. He is trying to figure out just how much I know, do I have tangible evidence, where did I find it. Lastly he decides whether he’ll leave the room entirely to escape cross examination, change the subject, throw an off the wall comment to distract or cast a firey dart of accusation to elicit a time consuming explanation why it isn’t true. Too bad for him his bag of tricks is rendered useless as I don my lab coat, stand back, and observe the beady-eyed rat. Then he is left to stew in the unknown.

  • When I see the pictures of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, I see her sparkling eyes and sweet smile and for him- the dead-eyed stare. He may be smiling, but his eyes look like my Ex’s. Dead. No sparkle. No one is home inside.

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