Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

The Dead-Eyed Stare

kimSo what about those dead-eyed stares, huh?

It’s been discussed here, that void-nothing-state some of these freaks get when confronted.

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?


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Yes, experienced that on many occasions’s over a very long time. It’s the creepy blackness in those eyes. Full of hatred. My opinion, when they have that look it’s a moment that you are completely unaware of the danger you are actually in. Learnt that lesson the hard way and wont ever happen again. It’s a tell tale sign you are dealing with someone who cant change, they are made that way. Dont ignore it.

    Get the fuck out of there! X

  • I encountered the stare — the most compelling time was the incident when I asked him about the $300 he sent using Western Union. He had printed the receipt and tossed it into the trash. Just the stare and once he recovered, “So how was your day?” I told him I wouldn’t discuss my day until he told me about the $300. Crickets for a week. During that week I went through his charge card statements and found that he had spent $75 on breakfast while I was undergoing a complex tendon rebuild. There was a purchase from Victoria’s Secret and a women’s clothing store. All this evidence meant nothing when we divorced and marital assets came up for grabs. My assets were the only ones up for grab. I had married a retired person so only my paycheck, 401K, and pensions were up for splitting. The scumbag even tried to get 50% of the money I had spent so my grandchild could have daycare, karate lessons, and clothing. There was no proof he had “approved” spending “our” paycheck on “my” grandchild. Let’s not forget the alimony he demanded.

  • If it weren’t for seeing this look in His Dishonor’s eyes upon confrontation, I’m not sure I would have ever broken free. I knew at that moment he was capable of killing me, both by means of a quick physical murder and by means of a slow soul murder.

  • My ex did the exact same thing. It actually freaked me out at first! I realize that there is just something missing in him that I have. I realize now what a narcissist is and that this man I thought was honest was just good at being someone else – for a while. I realize his now wife has to accept that’s how their relationship started, with lies and false truth. My poor kiddos though. It sucks for them the most

    • You took the words right out of my mouth. Exactly the same here. And we’ve been divorced for 23 months and I haven’t seen him for 26 months and the only contact was texts telling him he forgot my alimony deposit the past 2 months. He married the whore last October. He’s deserted his 4 grown children and 5 grandchildren. No one ever speaks of him anymore. The kids never, ever pushed him away. It’s like he’s dead but he still exists is the weird part. Who does this to their family? Well, after being part of Chump Lady since Aug 2014, a whole hell of a lot of people do. That’s the sad part. But, onward and upward we must go. We had a business together for 31 years. Now I’ve started a completely other type of business and never been happier. Who needs their soulless empty stares. Not me. Happily single and loving life.

      • Being as I reached the state of complete meh about 3 years ago, I stopped wondering. But if someone ever comes up with an answer, my curiosity might be peaked.
        At the time, I was shocked that he was so unaffected and was giving me that stare. It was pretty unnerving. It didn’t prevent me from kicking him out and filing, bit it gave me pause. Today, I’m just glad I didnt waste too much time getting to the filing part of the process.

        • It’s simple dissociation. They leave their bodies because they can’t integrate the reality of what they are doing or have been caught doing with the values that they subscribe to. My ex did not remember so many things he said to me, and yes, many times the blank stare, the I don’t know, the total perplexed look like someone was in control and they are baffled. My dad was dissociative too. They couldn’t live with themselves otherwise. I think sociopaths are different in that they enjoy the pain and the manipulation and are conscious of it. I think my ex was not a sociopath, just an unintegrated personality (note unintegrated and integrity). I think his therapist even used that word to describe him. I swear he wasn’t always this way. I think some of them hit midlife and just can’t handle it.

          • I agree Robin. A very insightful perspective, and entirely believable. I would add that unintegrated personalities may have sociopathic traits that appear and recede. My ex was unintegrated in the way you have described so well, and was often dissociative and “blank”. But he also did things that were manipulative, deliberately cruel, and enjoyed the results. Ain’t being free grand?

          • Robin this is it 100%.

            They just take their minds elsewhere, because they only take in what “fits” with their narrative. Most time they can LOOK as if they hear and are present, but they then have an automatic brain filter that deletes (or rewrites) what doesn’t fit.

            I believe that sometimes though, when confronted with a reality they cannot permit in circumstances that are sudden or they are otherwise off balance, they “switch out”. There physically, but gone psychologically. Just gone, for those moments. Shutters slam down.

            Survival mechanisms that these poor disordered, dissociative freaks developed somewhere along the way. The cruelty and manipulation though … plain old nasty power-tripping.

          • Robin, Diane, and MamaMeh, thank you so much for these posts! This was Fuckup to the T. The blank stare and the complete deletion of whatever didn’t fit his narrative. Unintegrated, avoidant, dissociative, disordered–and no longer my problem.

    • Could the dead eye stare be transference?
      They have to justify their actions so they immediately turn you into the source of all that is wrong in their lives.
      And they despise “you”. They loath “you”.
      “You” are why they are unhappy, “you” are in the way of the key to their happiness.
      “You” are now subhuman in their minds.
      Some cheaters choose to gaslight and some choose to abandon at this point.

      • Hi SSC

        I agree with them making us “sub-human” in their minds. It absolutely freaked me out and played with my mind when my STBX responded to my tears and questions and heartfelt feelings with cold dead shark eyes that stared me down and utter silence. This went on for months while I tried to survive and figure out what was happening with my 25 year marriage (hadn’t found CL yet). Out of all the shit he put me through this abusive and disrespectful treatment really made me realize that there was something really wrong with him (and that he is the sub-human). My STBX never played the self-pity or rage he just silently loathed me and just stonewalled and lied. Once he realized the gig was up he kept bragging to everyone that the “new” him was an amazing man and he proceeded to refuse to leave the house (where his 2 sons lived as well) while he rubbed my nose in dating and vacationing with his married co-worker (although he didn’t name her my son found her phone number taped to a bottle of strawberry lube – awesome). People truly cannot understand what this is like until they lived it. As far as I am concerned he tried to break me – this man that I had spend 25 years loving and supporting tried to break me and he almost succeeded. While I still feel that I am a friendly and optimistic person I now realize that people can hide a very dark and primitive side to themselves – it has changed me. I am a strong and confident person (but pretty easy-going) but this experience tested me in so many ways. To anyone who is early in the process — speak out, gather your tribe, read this blog, get good counselling, get a good lawyer, and know that you can survive. Hugs to all!

        • They do try to break you. To break even their own children.
          Controlling mistress bunny boiler -we did not know yet it was the case- came on vacation with us on a camping site when we were 8 and 6.
          Now that the thing with backstabber-now-ex-husband happened, the recollection came up of the feeling in my gut that those two (father and mistress) were into their debauchery, well glad to do it all under our own very eyes, while we looked after her own little child she had had from her partner. They liked to have my mother and us children as unknowing spectators. Heightened excitement.
          For me, it’s about blasphemy. They mess with the sacred. The more sacred a thing, the more exciting for them. They think they can mess with the things of God. It pains to be the daughter of such a father.
          His smirk was seen at times – never by me though. You could not have emotions around him, I know now, he was utterly unresponsive, like he turned you into stone, yet that charm of his made it seem he was affable. So, ostensibly, everything was fine. At the same time it was as though a black cloud was with him. And somehow he managed to move that cloud over to us. And he would leave, purged and light.
          I saw his eyes glazed over many a time. They did not go inside when it was so. It was akin to a stare in the distance, as if the entity that was in there was not really there.
          Mocking ex-husband would suggest staring contests, of which I thought nothing at the time. He could hold his stare without blinking. In the end, I saw him hold his stare while he was uttering what I knew was a lie. His eyes had been glazed over most of the time by then. Where does the soul go?

        • Dee, except for the 2 sons & strawberry lube (that I know of) your experience is my experience. It was 9 1/2 yrs ago – the dark ages as it was during the pre-CL era.

        • I’m going through something similar. I just found out my husband was having an EA 2 weeks ago. I was absolutely blown away with shock. I’d never in a million years have believed he was capable of it. He has always been completely in love with me and our family. Even his friends and family are shocked as he always talked about how I was the best thing to ever happen to him. He has severe PTSD and is an alcoholic and was recently DXed with BPD as well. I’d been begging him to get help after he put a suicide message on FB 6 months ago. Our dr put him on new meds and he completely changed. He became dead inside and stopped caring about everything, me, our kids, his job, etc. He just wanted to drink, play video games (where he met the girl) and be left alone. I told him last month I’d be leaving if he didnt get help and that is when he started talking to the girl. He blamed it on the fact “I was going to leave him anyway” even though I told him many times, while crying, that I didnt want a divorce, I just wanted him to get help and didnt know what else to do. When I confronted him about the affair, he got so angry at me. Ling story, but I ended up having to get a PFA and he is in rehab now. I dropped the PFA because his therapist claimed he was doing so much better and was overwrought with guilt for what he’d done to us. She had him call the kids last night and when I answered, he didnt even say hi to me. He just asked for the kids in his angry, cold voice. I froze and just gave them the phone. I got so angry after. He has no right to be angry at me. All I have done since finding out about not only his affair, but the thousands of dollars of debt he’d gotten us in behind my back, is try to protect him and make sure he is safe. I feel so stupid for even considering trying to get back with him eventually. I’m supposed to go to the rehab next week for therapy with him and his therapist and I w as snt going to go, but decided I’m going to as I have things I need to say and I’m not letting him off the hook that easy. I’m going to make him face me and see what he has done. I dont know if he was just being a coward or truly has no remorse for his actions, but it pissed me off so bad to have him talk to me like that after all he has put me through and how much I’ve done for him. He could barely get through 5 minutes on the phone with the kids before hanging up because he got too emotional. That made me mad too. Our kids were crying because they havent spoken to him in 2 weeks and he cant hold it together for a few minutes to put their needs ahead of his own or even give them a half assed apology. I cannot believe how stupid I have been to even consider staying with him. I just found this site and have been reading everything I can find about codependency (Totally me to a T). Even with how angry and unbelievable hurt I am, I just cant stop trying to help him and fix the mess he has left me with.

      • Exactly! I remember the dead eyes. The look that said this is all YOUR fault! YOU made me cheat. YOU are the reason I’m so unhappy. Which is strange, because the first sign I got of so-called “unhappiness” is after she started sticking her tongue down her married boyfriend’s throat. Then I became the garbage that she loathed. Good enough for 18 years. But not good enough to be faithful to. Not good enough to explain to. Nope. Just good enough to be abandoned. Thanks, soon-to-be-ex-wife…..hope your married boyfriend looks into your dead eyes and sees a soul.

      • I think you’re on to something. It’s not that its hard to find people who think women are sub-human, but there is that moment when you realize that he has degraded you to the point of delusion – even people who don’t like you all that much are puzzled by what he is saying about you. “That … doesn’t sound like Greensal. Why would she do that?”

        I knew from a my brief post-undergrad stint as an investigative reporter that, when interviewing a lot of women for the local DV/women’s homeless shelter, that every one had a story of the man screaming at or degrading her openly, in public, within a couple months or weeks of trying to murder her. So when – a decade later – my then-spouse Snollygoster started screaming at me and raising his fist at me in a downtown McDonalds in front of our child, his sibling’s in-laws (who he respected and wanted to impress), his nephew, his brother-in-law (no relation to me – and held in high regard), I knew my days were numbered. Had a restraining order one week (and two more serious private assaults/batteries) later. When they’re so sure others will see how vile you are, and not judge them for brutalizing you, they’ve crossed over into hallucinatory territory and your days (either with them or alive, your choice) are numbered It’s such dangerous territory.

      • Oh well, shoot!
        Not ‘transference’, but rather ‘projection’. And devaluation of course.
        Anyway, whatever it’s called, the X’s sudden shift in loyalty was traumatic.
        I imagine it was also in some way jarring to him and the only way he could reconcile his horrible behavior in his mind was to thrust all blame on me.
        He needed to find a way to make his actions appear absolutely justified. So, logically I became the source of all things wrong.
        He found a way to hate me, to eliminate any/all caring feelings for me.
        He became a selfish bullying coward because it was easier than adulting and ownership of his choices.

      • You are on the right track.

        Rather than just you being subhuman right at that point, it is that to them Everyone is less than they are. More to the point, they are the real person, and every other person is part of the scenery, with other factors, in the stage play that is their life.

        It is as if they fundamentally misunderstood what being a part of Reality is. We all have this similar experience in the World, which we share similarly, and it is as if they didn’t ever quite -get- that.

        They use scapegoats as a part of the mind artificially propping up that false Reality. When it is as if you suddenly are worth nothing and can do no right? You have been turned into the thing that is wrong with the World. You were scape-goated.

        And, The Stare thing.

        I have seen that from sociopathic people at different times. It looks to me as if the thing where it “looks like there is nothing behind the eyes” is when they are thinking in complete no-humanity mode. From what I’ve witnessed, the dead eyes show up when they mentally set aside any pretense at being a “regular decent person”, when they stop pretending within themselves.

        “I’m about to use this person.” Or. ” I just got power over this person. ” those are two good examples. I’m a magnet for them, so I’ve made a sort of informal study.

        Usually, they don’t know that you can see them when they do that.

    • I know exactly my ex Narc was the same except full “TRIANGULATION” right in front of me in our family home. He ran off with the first one to a sleeve bag motel for 4 days on our Visa I later found out. I filed for divorce right after Christmas. I was just done with the lies and cheating right in front of me. Didn’t try to hide a thing! Now two and 1/2 years later he just started hoovering me, ohhhh yaaayyyy he’s looking for money!

  • I think the lack of reaction comes from a lack of shame. My cheating ex-wife was proud of her cleverness and how it allowed her to cheat on me undiscovered for two decades. She was at times uneasy with how the discovery of her cheating might affect her public image, but never ashamed.

    And, of course, she had no cleverness, either. It’s the easiest thing in the world to trick someone who trusts you completely.

    • Yes, definitely this. My ex also had no shame. He was proud of himself, and he thought himself very clever. The stupid thing is that he wasn’t. He cheerfully proclaimed that his fraud was so complex that no one would ever figure it out. He said, “It would take them putting two accountants on it for a year to sort it out! They aren’t going to do that.” I said, “Uh… it took me ten minutes looking at the accounts with a highlighter to figure it out. And I’m not even an accountant.” Blank stare.

      These foolish people have this whole story they tell themselves in which they are the ninjas, sneaking around, getting away… They think their life is a spy thriller.

      I think the blank stare is them not accepting new information. They just block it all out so they can go back to their fantasy.

      • I agree that it’s that, with one nuance — it can also be that they are calculating the next manipulative move with such concentration that they kind of drop out of the moment.

        Whether it is into fantasy or into calculated cruelty that motivates, the outcome is the same — the dead eyes indicate that you are irrelevant, either until you are of use again (whether as a pawn or an abuse victim) or until the narcissistic inner monologue has completed and the temporarily maladjusted human being mask slips back into place.

        • Wow, Ami, that is what I was thinking- you are irrelevant! Also, they are focusing on their delusion.
          Very creepy. I’ve only seen the stare a couple of times, but it was so strange. I also think it’s when the demons are really in possession, but that’s my personal belief, that evil is involved in defrauding your spouse.

          • The ex’s stare was soulless and creepy- especially when confronted. I too thought evil had overtaken him! Or maybe that his feeble brain (magnificent and sophisticated to him!) was misfiring trying to figure out how to respond. Out of curiosity I’d love to know if there’s a clinical explanation for what we’ve seen. Evil sums it up.

      • These disordered souls all think they are smarter than the average bear. Always gaming the system. Yet they repeat the same mistakes over and over again as if the fantasy outcome in their pea brained heads will actually pan out.

        • They think they are so clever just for taking advantage of people’s trust and goodness — like it’s an innovative idea to be an asshole with no integrity. You’re not clever. You’re just horrible. We have too many movies that glorify this kind of a person as a real swashbuckling go-getter, though. Our cultural values create people like this.

      • Wow, I think it could very well be this: “the blank stare is them not accepting new information. They are just blocking it all out so they can get back to their fantasy”
        They truly are sociopaths & worse

        • If you think about it, narcissists, cheaters, etc. take fucking pride in the emotional reactions they draw out of you because — fool that you are! — you made yourself emotionally vulnerable to another human being. How many of us did they deliberately play like a fiddle for their own pathetic kind of power-trip? So when you corner them and think you’re going to get an emotional reaction out of them because they’re vulnerable in any way? They are laughing their asses off on the inside. This is a game they rigged in their favor from the start, just so that these situations never have an impact on their ego or conscience. That blank stare might be them calculating a next move and it might be them doing their best to hide what a joke they think you are for being one of those foolish hoomans with an actual ability to love and care about other people.

      • Agreed Carol mine was a mechanic and thought he was smarter than everyone else, he still denies his cheating BS in “FAKE” accounts he tries to contact me through on FB!????????????????????????????????????????????

      • My ex thought he was so clever that he showed up to mediation without his accountant. My CPA and forensic accountant worked some serious magic.

      • That particular blank state you got? I agree. That was sudden new processing taking place, instead of the lack of humanity stare.

    • Oh my

      Lack of shame, embarrassment, not seeing the
      “ wrongness “ of their actions….

      I remember the “ dead eyes stare”- I discovered his account and file filled with pics of various naked women/ vaginas… we had a fight and his biggest concern was the “ invasion of his privacy”
      Not the cheating
      Not the damage he caused
      Not my broken heart
      None of that.

      Dead stare, followed with annoyed look – he walked by me, went to bed and was asleep within 10 minutes.

      That’s not normal.

      I was 6 months pregnant, crying my eyes out, completely heartbroken.

      Little did I know- that my “ beloved h” was cheating on me since day 1 not giving shit about my life

      • Yes…The invasion of privacy. This so that they can deny their actions and we don’t question them because WE feel badly.

      • Elsa, so sorry honey. Going through all of that while pregnant is something no one should have to endure.

        I got that privacy talk too: “well you dont trust me so how is this going to work?”

        And he slept like a baby too while I threw up from the shock and all the crying.

        • Shelly

          They act, they use the mask of normality…. “ before” it was a big mystery for me… now- I can recognize the red flags and small “ tellings “
          Unfortunately no one is teaching us how to spot a narc…. start reading dr. Simons – to educate yourself.
          It’s scary as hell… but after living in hell… it’s necessary for survival

        • The day I confronted him and got the blank stare and your crazy dialogue. He went to bed and went right to sleep, me, was up all night trying to figure out how to save my marriage!!???? stupid, stupid, stupid

      • Oh yes-invasion of privacy. That was a hoot!
        Ex-cheater was mad when I used ‘find my iphone’ And I found him at the Asian hooker palace. Mind you, his whole family was waiting for him to show up at his dad’s 80th birthday party and he was late.
        The mask came off quick when he came outside and I was parked behind his car. Once I called him out on the hookers, he was screaming at me that I invaded HIS privacy. I let him know that I thought our marriage was private. Complete crickets & shark eyed stare. I do believe he really did hate me.
        He never was remorseful and ended up disconnecting the link between our phones because he was so insulted I violated his privacy. Although he passed away away a few years ago, I couldn’t believe what a monumental a-hole he was!

      • Invasion of privacy was why he finally needed a divorce from me because he couldn’t trust me and he knew I had seen text messages between him and OW. The next morning, he shoved his phone in my face and said here, you want to look at it? He had deleted their conversation… How stupid do you think I am?!?!?!?!

        • When I saw that my h was doing something on the laptop, he minimized the windows
          “ what are u doing”
          Ok, so open the window
          No. I’m just reading news
          With pictures of women?
          That was an article about some sex scandal
          ????‍♀️Ok, open it

          That was happening when both families (25 people) were enjoying Christmas dinner in the next room…. house filled with kids … laud noises and laughter… his mother there…

          I lost it.

          What kind of looser searches CL posts of hookers while his family enjoys Christmas?

          That night he told me, that there is no need for explanations, we should simply get divorce because we “ the marriage doesn’t work” for us….

          Yes, he invited both families to enjoy holidays together being the best SIL and uncle

      • Invasion of privacy….unbelievable the stuff they come up with! I’ve heard it all…even after it’s all out in the open the lies seem to continue. I’m sickened by the thought of anymore BS that flows from his mouth.

    • Exactly. He got off on tricking me and his kids. We never questioned. Looking back though there were some bombs dropped, I think by then he was so far gone the thought he was invincible. The time I asked him why he couldn’t apologize to me when he was 3 hours late.”That would be me letting you win”. Huh? I am totally not competitive. Never gave a damn about winning an argument. Or the time early on when we were sitting with our lawyers going over assets…on court discovery my lawyer asked why he had undervalued cars by over $50k…..”I don’t want to pay her any more than I have to”. Dude, that makes it ok to lie on court documents and sign your name to it? There is a fine line between narcissism and insanity. They know what they are doing and have absolutely no remorse. They win enough battles to come out ahead of the losses, and this world sickly respects them. The cold stare is the blank void where their soul should be.

      • Cheater X valued his Porsche at $6k. I said fine, I’ll take that in the settlement. Then it was oops, I meant $30k. They will say ANYTHING that they think will give them an advantage at that moment. They don’t even bother to think it through.

        • ????????????when I first noticed the mistake my lawyer asked if it could be a mistake. I said ” no way, this guy is so into cars. He is on all kinds of forums, constantly”. Funny, the Dick also has a Porsche. Wish I’d been as smart as you!

        • Survivor, bless you. I will be using this tactic. My STBX undervalued all of his Hot Rods. I believe I’ll just take that $1,000 82 Chevy S10 with the corvette engine, racing suspension and complete interior overhaul for my daily driver. I can drive shift.

          I’ve had the best laugh at imagining his horror. I can’t wait. Thank you so much! Best part, there is no payment like there is on my car. I’ll insist on having that truck. I’ve laughed until I cried. I’ll lay a strip in your honor. Thank you so much.

          I love you Chump Nation and Chump Lady.

      • The worst of these people really are so mentally far-gone. When things were falling apart between me and my ex he proudly said “Remember in the beginning when I was so into you and it took time for you to be all in? Now I’m the one who doesn’t care, and look at you!” He was so excited and thrilled, it was like he was saying “I WIN! HAHA!” I just felt like Good God, is that what you think relationships are for? All this wasted time and emotion was to “win” the relationship so the other person was the one who “lost?” The fucking competitive mindset these idiots will carry into every part of life …

    • It’s all about the optics for a the narcissist. What they have actually done is never a concern for them. What others think they have done is the only thing that matters. Of course, it is YOUR fault if the truth about their conduct/character is actually discovered. This is one of those universal cheater truths.

      • It’s not what they did, were doing, had done- it’s you talking about it, bringing it to light, and crushing his “ perfect image” ….

    • Nomar, “It’s the easiest thing in the world to trick someone who trusts you completely,” yes, exactly.

  • I spoke to my therapist about my ex doing this (zoned out and sharky) and she got excited saying she knew what I was talking about. She said that certain personality disorders, when triggered, their eyes will dilate. She said that means you see more black and it seems evil, un-nerving…or shark-like. Not sure if true but interesting idea.

    • The Dickhead eye’s would dilate when he forced to deal with anything emotional.

    • Definitely got the shark eyes a lot in the months leading up to dday. It created a feeling that he was just void of any understanding or rather empathy which the reunification has since confirmed!

      My Dd has a narc boss and I can’t count the number of times she has described her as having behaviors similar to her fuckwit father. Just yesterday a coworker was telling her about an incident with said boss which she described “and she turned and looked at me and her eyes were black like the devil”, no doubt this is a real thing! Scary!!!!!

      • Hi Feelingit❤️
        I remember us, and many Chumps going on in the forums, about the piercing, cold, dead-fish, eye, stare.
        Mine was before DDay, in the kitchen of our lovely new home. He walked past me, and with that stare, just out of the blue, said, “You couldn’t be pregnant at a worse time.”
        I don’t know how a Chump can ever forget something like this. I know that I never ever will.
        ( naive me, thought it had to do with worry over financial responsibility) ????‍♀️

        • XH had shark eyes after Dday. It chilled me to the bone. He also told our kids, youngest 10, that he hated every minute of their lives. He said it coldly. We still have ptsd-like symptoms from those devastating weeks after Dday. I wish to God Is told him to Gtfo and gone NC on DDay — the harm that followed from the Narc rage, gaslighting, blameshifting, and cruelty was way worse than learning he had fucked another. My kids will never be the same????????????????????????????

          • ((((MotherChumper99)))
            I remember in the beginning of your first posts how very very difficult it was for you. I also saw your strength, day by day, increasing. You are always such a shinning example to new Chumps that things can get so much better.
            But, still, there is always the pain of the Children, the precious, innocent Children. I hate how your ex hurt his own flesh and blood Children in the ways that he did, and still does.
            This is something a Chump can never never forget, let alone forgive.
            At DDay one of the few things cheater told me was thst OW felt bad about taking him away from our tiny child.
            I pick me danced, he stayed. Years later, it hit me, I believe he stayed because at the time he didn’t have the guts to tell the OW that pesky wife appliance was pregnant. Imagine how utterly extra bad she would feel about that.
            The child I was carrying seems to have an extra tough teflon lining on her heart toward her Dad. She tolerates none of his narc like characteristics. It is difficult to put into words but I feel she suffered a lot with what I was going through at DDay and the following days and months. It seems to give her a hard shell, or something.
            I will always feel so protective and strong toward my precious children.
            That a cheater, narc like character can be willing to walk away from such a precious gift of their own Children is so beyond me, so beyond all Chumps.
            I truly know and believe this is something a Chumps can, and will, NEVER understand or be able to forgive.

            • A friend has nicknamed her narc mother Teflon. Seems to be a common characteristic of these pod people.

          • After reading that I’d like to say what I think of him but I can’t even begin. Literally no words sharp or obnoxious enough. Big, big love to you and your gorgeous children xxx

          • He said that to his CHILDREN?????
            He deserves to die, very painfully. I’m so sorry.

        • My ex husband (not the recent ex fiancé that chumped me and brought me to this forum) had the dead shark eyes. Like you I remember one particular incident after I caught him cheating and said I was leaving with our then 4 & 2 year old. He stood across the island from me in the kitchen and with that dead, dark stare said, “because you’re the mother of my children I will give you a choice. I can either frame you for a crime and you’ll go to jail, declare you mentally insane and have you committed or kill you and they will never find your body. You choose.” I looked him in the eye and said “I pick D….none of the above. Go fuck yourself and your threats. I have letters sent to my lawyer and two other sources that if anything happens to me you are responsible!!” He wasn’t expecting that.
          These types are truly unstable. My ex fiancé that I kicked out in November that was a serial cheater would have a similar look but he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was and after dealing with someone truly scary and learning a lot over the years I saw through his BS a lot better.

          • @yourloss…. some of these cheaters are capable of aggravated murder.

            I just finished listening to Dirty John podcast series and that cheater went after the chump’s children just as mobsters do… all to inflict the most pain on the victim. You and your children are lucky you made it out alive.

        • I got something similar in my late in life, unexpected pregnancy. “It will be the end of everything I enjoy in life.” I realized then I would be on my own. Not just this baby but for the older kids, too. Parenthood was a burden and killjoy to him.

      • One of the few women who escaped from Ted Bundy described his eyes going black like that.

    • It took me a while to notice the pattern, but I also saw this look you’re describing, Abinormal, repeatedly during false reconciliation. I would be expressing myself calmly and zeroing in on an undeniable truth about His Dishonor’s behavior or treatment of me, and then his eyes would glaze over and dilate and I could tell he was no longer listening. Several times he actually dozed off at this exact moment. It was like his brain was protecting itself from the truth.

      This look was distinct but almost as unnerving as the black, evil, dead-eyed stare I saw upon confrontation. It was lacking the contempt and hatred of the dead-eyed stare, but once I saw it several times, I knew there was no chance I would ever truly be heard and understood by that thing in a human suit I had married.

      • Omg!!!! You described it perfectly! XH also dozed off in the middle of a confrontation with the young AP!!!!! I should have thrown his ass you and gone NC on DDay. I thought he had a brain tumor????????????????????

        • I thought mine had Alzheimers! He was making such truly awful choices, it seemed like dementia. My best friend asked me if I was safe, and I was SURE I was. Until I wasn’t.

          • The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants, yes, that was a chapter in my own attempts at sense-making and justifying, “He MUST have a brain tumor, or early on-set Alzheimers or dementia! This is all so crazy, so disordered, so ridiculous, it can’t be real!” Now, I roll my eyes at that chapter, trying to accept that it me who was has such limited vision to see what was real and what wasn’t. All necessary work of recovery but a shitty thing, still.

      • During confrontations or conversations about things he didn’t want to talk about, Fuckup’s eyes would glaze over and he’d lean back in his chair and lay stiff and motionless, eyes open and staring–like a mannequin pinned in place by centripetal force. It was unnerving.

    • Yes! My X Asshat absolutely had that – his eyes are green/blue but they turned black when he was “turned on” with rage, lust, hate, whatever, because his eyes dilated so huge. It was beyond creepy. When the mask was totally off post-abandonment he stood in the kitchen screaming at me and those eyes were fully blown out and I really thought he would kill me.

      I noticed in the last 3-4 years of our marriage that in all of the photos I took of him he looked like he ate a bug. He was sneering at me, glaring at me, loathing me behind the camera.

      It continues to amaze me how much I understand now and how completely clueless and trusting I was then.

      • Your comment resonated for me so much. We were together 37 years. We only marred 4 years ago. When I was torturing myself looking back at photos, particularly of our wedding – I did a double take at one of them. It was a picture of him, our son and his father. My son and father in law are all smiles, he is looking at me with a dead eyed stare and contempt. It completely threw me.
        I haven’t deleted it. It reminds me of how little he must have thought of me – even on what was supposed to be a happy day.

        • I once decided to do a role play with my
          Xh ( before I knew that the role play was his regular double life experience)

          The very sexy seduction of a “ working girl” …. prepared and staged all- outfit, room, the whole 9 yards.
          I was excited …
          Everything started ok… after 15 minutes- he was in “ the Zone”
          Empty eyes and not seeing me- his wife, partner, human being…. it freaked me out…. I was thrown out of shoes not fully understanding wtf just happened?!?

          Now, I know.

          That was his persona with all the hookers and other encounters. Psycho creepy empty eyed persona.

          I never told him what I saw, but I knew from that point, that he can wear the mask with ease, while doing horrible stuff behind my back.


        • Oh my god Cathy, I was about to post the same thing-asking if anyone had looked back at pictures and seen the dead-eye stare right there before them– captured forever during moments you had thought were joyful. I found a picture of the four of us-my ex, our two daughters and me-taken by a waiter when we were all out to dinner together. The three of us have real smiles and I am immediately taken back to that evening and how we were all laughing at a funny story my youngest daughter told. You can see the happiness in our eyes. But his eyes…they are blank and expressionless.

      • Yes I was so clueless, trusting, and naive; however, this is because I am a good person with a good heart and would never do what he did or treat someone as he has. He put all his effort and energy into a clandestine relationship and I became “worthless” in his eyes. Of course being a smart cheater I think that subconsciously he realized that I did almost all of the work of the family in the last few years (picking up the slack as he built his secret life) so he didn’t want to discard me quite yet.

      • I would get the sneer and the dead eyes all the time in the last few years we were married. He really hated me. Oh well, he is marrying the AP next month. He is her problem now!

      • I can certainly relate to the part about photos. I took a selfie with my cheater when we were on a date. He looked like a serial killer in it, no exaggeration. Totally, stereotypically evil. He tried to say it was a trick of the light.
        It was actually because the OW was secretly watching me at the time and he knew it because they had set it up beforehand.
        In photos taken during his affair where he is not triangulating like that, he just looks sad.

        Monsters, all of them.

          • Yep. They tried this multiple times but I usually didn’t want to go to their chosen venue, so they only scored once. They even tried to set up a double date with both spouses. Neither spouse wanted to go, so -get this- she brought her 15 year old daughter and some other guy she was fucking at the time.
            Sick, sick, sick.

    • I think that therapist comment is spot-on. When some personality orders are triggered, the eyes dilate. Interesting.

      I wonder what interference there is to add the dead-looking quality to them? Some situational eye dilation looks like what it is, like with infatuation or love.

  • Blank stare, blank countenance, blank posture. He became nothing. The last two months of our ‘marriage’ I lived with a complete stranger that I had once trusted and believed in. I still shake my head at the memory and thank my lucky stars that he decided to become someone else’s boogeyman.

  • My STBX has only one eye. So his stare was always weird because his prosthetic eye doesn’t move (he was terribly self-conscious about that and hated it when people noticed). But there were times when I would catch him or confront him with a new discovery (I had several d-days) that he got a very strange expression and I KNEW that I had caught him. It was a look of fear coupled with a strange thousand yard stare. I’ve since read that the stare is a typical narc thing. It would often provoke me into a rage when I still gave a shit and he would cross his arms and stare straight ahead while I screamed and yelled and begged him to just tell me the truth. I’m very glad those days are over. These people can make you batshit crazy and enjoy every moment of it. As long as I engaged in this war of wills with him I was a prisoner. I wanted to know what, why, and how he could do these despicable things to us. I wanted him to love me, I wanted to win the “prize” of his love that he said he had for me.

    I lost, thank God. There is no winning with these people since the prize is the ultimate shit sandwich that CL always talks about. My win was to be set free from my mental obsession with him. I don’t care why, what, and how anymore. It simply doesn’t matter. He’s fucked up and I’m gone. That’s it. I feel so lucky and blessed to be living my best life on my terms. Cheater free.

    • Infinite Possibilities,
      I always love to read your posts.
      YOU are Mighty!
      Your new name suits you to a T

      • Thank you so much Peacekeeper. That means the world to me. We are all mighty or we wouldn’t be here. I am very thankful for Chump Lady and Chump Nation. Without you guys I would still be sitting around thinking I’m the crazy one. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  • A woman who survived an abduction and attempted murder at the hands of serial killer Ted Bundy described him looking at her with these exact kind of eyes, just as everyone here is saying we all have seen.

    • Wow. Scary to think about.

      My cheater wife did the thing where she tried to arrange my eating of more I healthy or fattening food, to make me less desirable to other women, which is the sentimentality it takes to poison someone slowly to death.

      The more you know….

  • I always wondered how the X could go from being a sweet, charming man into a raving lunatic. It was in his eyes, like he would actually turn into someone else.

    The coldness in his eyes was apparent when I found out about his latest GF. No sorrow or remorse, just a cold stare. It was also like he was proud of himself. I finally got free from my toxic marriage when I realized those were the eyes I would see when he finally left me for someone new after draining the life from me, saying “I don’t know why, I just need to go.” I got out while I still could.

  • I experienced “the stare” several times, but one time that stands out was during our hellish “in-house” separation for 8 months after D-Day, while I was looking for an apartment- he was living upstairs and I was living in the basement. On a typical day, during his usual BS of making small talk while he was waiting for Schmoopie’s next text, his phone “dinged” (her, of course). He quickly asked me where some random thing was that he was looking for, and I told him it was in the garage. He stood there for a minute as if he expected me to fetch it, and I realized it and told him he could fucking well go get it himself. I also informed him that it was next to a grocery bag full of his romantical picnic stuff that he had been sneaking out of the house (cheese knife, wine cork, paper plates…LOL). Suddenly, shark eyes. *Smirk* He then ran down to the garage and out to his car and drove off. I looked out the window just in time to see him backing out of the driveway, still smirking and flipping the bird. Blech.

    • Ah yes, the stare often goes with the smirk doesn’t it. AND the Twat always seemed to expect that I would go fetch things for him (“here Rover, fetch”). Like if he was doing something upstairs and I was cooking downstairs and he would call me. He ALWAYS expected me to go to him. When I stopped and just answered him from downstairs he was FURIOUS. That wasn’t the way it was supposed to work!

    • Who would date a person who would treat anyone like this? Don’t affair partners think this is how they, their children will be treated, someday?
      As chumps we had no idea.
      Cheaters view, encourage and in fact enjoy abusive treatment of “old spouse”, HOW can they think it will not be them someday?

      They sign up for it, they certainly deserve it.

      • Oh, I agree, Magneto. But this AP was a special kind of…well, I can’t even describe. She was my now ex’s “best friend’s” wife! As you can imagine, the bestie is now ex-bestie. And the “tru wuv” wore off even before our divorce was final. I understand he’s got a new victim now, a girl 30 years younger than he is. I wish her luck.

        • 30 years younger! How is that possible? What the hell can come of that “relationship”. God, these people just don’t want anything real of substance do they

          • My military cheater STBX has a side chick that is one year older than our oldest child. She loves his wallet. I would tell his main chick, the
            Howorker but it isn’t my problem. They are on their own. I quit.

            • Mine has a 30 years younger Filipino domestic worker ho that also loves his wallet. Good for her because it’s not real big and no self respecting American woman will go near him. I did tell her about his others but she doesn’t seem to care or else she believes his damage control lies. Yuck, just yuck!!! They’re doing something with coconuts over there. Because his dollar goes so much farther. And when you’re living on social security what’s a studly old guy supposed to do?? Oh, he’s doing that because I “left him no choice.”

              • Oh Infinite Possibilities, he had choices. It never ceases to amaze me how cheaters twist the reality so everything is all your fault.

                She doesn’t care. She really, really loves his wallet. It cracks me up to think that my fat, old, sick STBX thinks a 32 year old finds him attractive. He is morbidly obese, has kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and gout. This isn’t going to end well for him.

                I would never “date” a man 27 years younger than myself. I know that if a 32 year old expressed interest in me it would be cause he thought I had a cookie in my purse. That he thinks she cares about him negates nearly thirty four years of marriage.

                I used to care. I quit.

          • Society assumes younger woman/older man combo equals the woman benefiting financially.

            I went on a couple of dates with an older acquaintance of many years (fifteen years older) and we were in San Fran. I stopped by Tiffany & Co to replace my watch battery. He sat and waited with me. Guess who got a free battery for the first time in twenty years ? We also visited some art galleries and the Nabokov fan remarked that he always gets better service when he’s accompanied by a younger, attractive woman. The gallery owners came up to him right away to inquire about his nonexistent collection.

            I have more money than he does, by the way. He lives on his smelly,old sailboat.

            • I really don’t know what the attraction is for this young woman. It’s my understanding that they met at a local craft brewery where she works. I suppose from his viewpoint, it’s a match made in heaven. He’s a functioning alcoholic + she brews beer = twu wuv?

              I don’t really care why they are together, but I can’t help but feel a little sorry for her. Still, not my circus and sure as HELL not my monkey anymore!

      • I think my X Asshat is holding his breath and relying on the fact that Schmoops is half his age. He is trying to be on his best behavior for a while and buying her airline tickets to America (she is European) and maybe dangling the potential for citizenship over her head.

        When properly motivated OW’s can look the other way a long, long time. They are speshul already because they stole a married man, so that high lasts a while and when combined with the cheater’s best behavior they get lulled into passive silence. Boil away, froggy.

        • Also, sometimes I think it depends on what OW or OM want. My STBX’s OW is already married and has more money than him. My STBX bragged to his children that he is flirting with an “alternative” lifestyle. Not sure what he means by that but it is probably weird sex and tons of drinking. While I am curious it doesn’t really matter as long as it doesn’t hurt my children. Some of these OW want to be taken care of some of them just want some extra-curricular banging – who cares- moving on.

          • OW in my story was just up for the “extracurricular banging “. She is married in a “committed ” (ha!) OPEN marriage and has 3 boyfriends going at a time. 6 month rotation and then on to the next so she doesn’t get attached.

            I know all this because STBX told me everything (gleefully including sexual details that have burdened me with PTSD).
            She basically propositioned him saying here’s the deal I just want to have sex with you for about a 6 month time, okay?

            I confronted him and was gaslighted until he finally broke ’cause he was having a sadz that his 6 months were up, and true to her word she dumped him and immediately replaced him with another man at their work. So he had to watch and it made him feel bad.

            Yep, loser threw away a good and loyal woman, his son, family and treated us all like dirt so he could have that magical ????. TEMPORARILY and knew it was temporary.

            Long post. One of those days for me.

            • Oh!!! You mean your cheater, who broke all his vows to you and didn’t care, had somebody else stick to what they said they would do, and now he haz a sadz? The karma bus backed over him a few times, eh. Nice schadenfreude hit. Hugs to you today xxx

              • I know right. Then he actually said, “now that know how you feel”.

                Yep, your howorker leaving you, even though you knew she would, is exactly the same as your partner and mother of your child cheating, lying, stealing, discarding, and calling you crazy.

        • “Boil away, froggy.” Hahahahaha. AP did and does look like a boiled frog. Of course, she got replaced several times over.

      • The APs are narcs who consider themselves special and superior to you. They tell themselves you get that treatment because you’re not super awesome like them and you deserve it.

  • Once the infidelity tea was spilled, the “look” was instantaneous. It never went away. Only good knowledge of this is that Sweet-cheeks McGee, the OW, is going to be on the receiving end of this someday. They do not change.
    Perhaps she will dead eye stare back, bat shots crazy dysfunctional piece of work she is, too, (hello, GOD will never send you someone else’s husband ) and they can have staring competitions over the mediation table.

    Asswholes, all of them.

    Trust they didn’t change, trust the bus is going to be circling back. Be thankful it is not you in the path.

  • I call this the “deer in headlights” look.

    We moved back home to his “home state” after being away for his work for over a year. I came in through the front door holding what I thought was a collection notice. As it turns out, it was for jewelry he had purchased for one of the many OW in the work related state a year prior. The agency working for the jewelry (whom he owed over $4,500.00 USD), had tracked him down back to our new address in his home state.

    All I got when I handed him the envelope and asked him to open it was defense. Then he opened it, looked down with me, and went into “deer in headlights.”

    Idiot. He thought he could charge thousands of dollars for an engagement ring and wedding band set for another woman (who was all ready married with her own family too) and not get caught?

  • Having no soul causes that dead stare. Too bad it doesn’t cause them immediate death!

  • I decided to leave my abusive ex (cheating was part of it, and it still bothers me, but reading CL has genuinely helped) almost 20 years ago. He turned on self-pity and charm, and I fell for it. He asked me to stay one more night “just to hold you and look at your face.”

    I woke from a deep sleep at 6 a.m. to find him sitting up against the headboard with the early light on his face. I will never forget his expression. I’d seen shark eyes before, but never like that – I can still picture them. They were like black ice. I went from 0 to wide awake instantly and thought, knew, that he was considering whether to kill me in my sleep.

    I froze and sort of flattened myself and just waited. Finally he said: “If you’re ready to leave, I’m ready to be rid of you.” I practically bounced off the bed, grabbed the last few things off the dresser, and was out the door before he changed his mind.

    I’ve told this to several therapists over the years. My current one specializes in EMDR and brain spotting and didn’t express any judgment, but I’ve had therapists who wondered aloud if I was sure, based on a single facial expression, that I knew what my ex was thinking. I was and am absolutely sure. I hope never to see that look on a human face again.

    • EMDR/Brainspotting therapists have a special understanding of trauma processing that is a thing of beauty. Best work I’ve ever done.

      Way to listen to your deep intuition. I believe you 100%.

      • Thank you, Amiisfree! I feel so grateful to have found her (EMDR therapist), even though I wish our paths had crossed years ago. Better late than never, and much better to be dealing with the aftermath than still in the relationship.

        I appreciate your reply and the replies below. I got a nice warm feeling in the heart area just from reading “I believe you.” Thank you so much.

    • That is absolutely terrifying. Of course we believe you!! So, so glad you are free of him.

          • I actually said to ex “are you going to hurt me now?” when I got the shark eye.

            To this day, I think calling it out is what saved me.

            • I think you must have been listening to your instincts, Morse. So sorry you (and others on this thread) shared this experience.

    • Yes, I know what you mean. At first I thought it was a black stare of hatred, but I have come to realize that it was complete, utter indifference. There would be no remorse or empathy if I lived or died. When I first saw it, we were in an airport, travelling to a conference. I had finally found out about his affair, which he had hidden from me for 4 years. When I saw the black look on his face, I realized that I had seen this before, that I had been emotionally abused for a long time.
      Psychopaths can function very well in society, masquerading as normal people. In reality they lack normal moral standards, empathy and remorse; which makes them dangerous if you are standing in the way of their ‘happiness’.

      • I agree with you that it was complete, utter indifference rather than hatred. I don’t think he CARED enough to hate me. He really didn’t care if I lived or died, left or stayed. The opposite of love, after all, isn’t hate. It’s indifference.

        • I misread that blank look, and the indifference behind it, for a couple of years. I would have left sooner, had I seen that unmoving facial expression for what it was. I had thought he was in a peaceful, calm state. Just what he wants people to think! You see, his mask, his fake persona is the all-loving, enlightened yoga teacher. A handy cover for a bigoted, manipulative, emotionally abusive lying cheater, right? I was so naive. It wasn’t until I recognized the signature sociopath smirk that I also understood that the blank look was not about projecting calmness, it was an utter lack of sympathy.

    • We know it’s true. We believe you.
      There is one book regarding fear and intuition being the best “ judge” of situation( forgot the title) – written for a guy who worked for FBI….
      He said “ never undermine those feelings. If the thought of possibility of being killed pops up in your head- run. “

      • Was it “The Gift of Fear?” I forget who it is by — I didn’t take the book with me when I ran.

          • It’s well worth the $14.99 or whatever it cost. It made me think twice about just how many times I ignored my intuition and my intuition had been right.

              • Thank you for your comments, Elsa. I read Gavin de Becker’s books, including The Gift of Fear, a few years after leaving. Lundy Bancroft helped more, but de Becker was also great, if disturbing.

  • I can’t really remember this look out of asshole ex. His immediate reaction to any questions, doubts, or anything negative was to launch into an immediate attack on me, my character. My appearance. My parenting skills. My sanity. Etc. It could never be about anything he did. Just my flaws. Fuck you, jerk.

    • Anita, mine too. When confronted everything was my fault. Everything you said plus it was my fault he had to cheat due to the usual cheater excuses. It constantly amazes me how they are all the same.

    • Yup me too( and my name is Anita too!! all blameshifting and projection even from my latest boyfriend who was caught sexting another woman while cuddling with me on my sofa. He is all about using me as a free airbnb every weekend. Done and done.

  • I got this stare every time I confronted my Ex about anything. I used to tell him talking to him was like talking to a black hole.

  • I’m not sure what my ex was thinking, but I can connect those dark, blank eyes to all of the times that he was cheating and playing con games. As a matter of fact when he was doing well and love bombing his face looked fairly normal, but then it was like a dark fig entered him when he was cheating, lying etc.

    The scariest thing with the fuckwit during his build up to the final DDay was his regular playing with his pistol. At night he’d slip out the clip and sit on the bed with that empty, dark eyed look. He’d point the gun at a spot on the floor or a shadow on the wall and repeatedly pull the trigger. Seriously, the emptiness in his eyes was the scariest part of it. And all during the time he was doing this he was leading on his harem, lying to our accountant, building financial reserves in bank accounts that I didn’t know about, and talking to people to advise him about how to divorce me with me getting as little as possible of our assets.
    Sociopath, psychopath, exact thoughts he was thinking ????. At this point I’m just glad that his dangerous behavior is someone else’s problem.

    • What is it with these guys and guns? Mine suddenly had to have a hand gun on him at all times.

      • I found evidence that my Ex had weapons secreted EVERYWHERE in our home; under the bed, in the garage, the attic, closets, EVERYWHERE. I didn’t know he’d bought more than one, but he’d gone over the edge. Scary.

    • You dodged a bullet. My STBX pulled out a gun to clean while I attempted to get him to talk about his cheating. The first time that weapon was pointed my way I left. I knew he intended to have a tragic gun cleaning accident with me as victim.

      He would stonewall and just stare at me with those cold, dead eyes. Not say a word, no response to my desperation. The implied threat of the gun cleaning wasn’t lost on me.

      I’m so glad I left him.

      I’m so glad to be far away from him.

      He is dead to me as his cold, black eyes.

  • Oh! Mine has a name for it, too. When he went into this mode he would say, afterwords, “Hey, I had to protect myself!”.
    This became his victim cry whenever he was called onto the carpet by anybody who tried to hold him accountable.

    His accompanying smirk indicated he actually enjoyed this stage.

  • Yes. The stare. The black eyes. That’s what I got when I confronted him at his mothers (three days after he suddenly moved out). It was at that moment that I realized that I meant NOTHING to him. Sad and hard to fathom at the same time. Exactly what was I married to?

  • My theory is tolerance. Inside, they are thinking how dare she question me but if they want to keep you hanging on, they can’t reveal that. So they are tolerating your questions or accusations.

    Plus, they think if they stay quiet and emotionless, maybe it will blow over and they can go right back to cake.

    • Tolerance! I so agree. I used to feel “tolerated” too, and it is soul-crushing. So horribly condescending.

      • I felt barely ‘tolerated’ by my last boyfriend, my husband (before him) and most of previous ex-boyfriends. I got the cold shark eye stare—I think that it started in a way with a male relative decades ago, who yelled at me today when I told him that I felt upset that my ex-husband tried to play controlling games with me as soon as he landed back in the U.S. after being gone for over two months and took our kids away to his mother’s home in another county, where he lives when he’s not on the road working or hanging out at brothels. My ex-husband often publicly and privately chides me for being inappropriate, telling me, ‘Grow up!’ although he breaks the law. Sadly, a lot of people believe the harmful false statements he makes about me and others. It’s amazing how much it still hurts sometimes, five years since my ex-husband filed for divorce and tried to convince the Court to ban me from seeing our kids by making false allegations against me, to see my kids ride off with my ex-husband for a week. I think that I am still a bit traumatized. Doesn’t help that I am alone and unemployed. Feel nearly powerless.

        Regarding the dead eye stare, in my situations I’ve gotten it most likely because my partners (husband and boyfriends) Just.Didn’t.Care (about me) and thought I was interfering with their happiness with their desired partners.

  • When I look at photos of my ex, I can see that there is something going on with his eyes that is incredibly unusual. They are crazy eyes that bore and stare, and seem at once frozen, like a deer’s in headlights, and like black pools no one sane would want to get lost in. He hides this look in his day to day life, but it is there in the photos. I used to feel unnerved when I looked at photos of him, and told myself that he was just not photogenic. Nope. It’s that he’s not a safe person.

    • I was looking at pictures yesterday of my ex. You’re right, very unnerving! Years ago, he blamed the way he looked in pictures on a lazy eye. Nope, just dead eyes!

  • When I confronted my ex. He just sat there. Looking straight at me. No expression on his face. His calm was unnerving. The more angry I got the calmer her became.

  • When I told Dr. Cheaterpants I had a gut feeling about him and teenaged Barbie schmoopie, his eyes darted and his cheeks twinged in such a way that it looked reptilian. I really can’t explain it any better than that. It was a tell and I knew it! Plus she was the second known schmoopie in our 20 years together (suspected others but no confirmation–I think he was always trying to groom).

    He also was known for his huge smile, like the joker, it was almost painted on his face. This mislead others into assuming he was always happy, such a great guy. I knew what mood he was in by his eyes though. The fake smile was always plastered on but the eyes gave him away. Especially when he was angry with me, the disdain, the you’re not the boss of me, the you deserve everything I’m doing look. And like others have mentioned or eluded to, I’m thankful he didn’t kill me. I really think he would’ve of if he thought he could get away with it.

    Thank goodness I’m free of that!! Enjoy what’s coming your way young schmoopie!

  • Oh yes, I’ve seen this stare, like looking in to the eyes of a great white shark. My advice for that stare is remove yourself as soon as possible because they are channeling mind fuckery at max overload…. save your breath for your soup, put up your shields and cut contact.

  • After the discovery of the Owhore he started flaunting her in front of me in public places. He once walked past me with her wearing the cruel smirk & the dead eye stare. Then another time he denied admitting we had just returned recently from a trip together in front of the whore. His cold dark eyes frightened me as he said those terrible words. To this day I remember looking at him then & not knowing who this person was
    He was alien to me. Someone I lived with for over 35
    It’s been 4 years now but I’ll never forget the ice cold
    narcissistic eyes that went straight to my heart. ????

    • I’m sending you hugs Kathleen
      This is what happened to me too . ????????

      • Karen
        So sorry you had to experience the pain that comes with it. ????. Good luck to you friends. ????

  • I was only dating in grad school around the same time as the Jennifer Aniston – Brad Pitt divorce. I don’t know why it stayed with me, but I remember reading an interview with her. She said that Pitt was “missing a chip”. (This was after she discovered his affair with Angelina Jolie). I never forgot that statement, and I have no idea why. Fast forward to now, I often think of the “missing chip” when dealing with these disordered people. I believe that blank stare is the signals failing to connect. The missing chip is empathy, respect, and all that other noise they can’t be bothered with.

    Chump: “How could you do this?”

    Disordered brain: (IN ROBOT VOICE) Does not compute. Initiate dead stare sequence.

  • Yup, the manipulation wheels are spinning so fast the facial expressions are set into neutral.
    Then when further pressed comes the rage.
    They disgust me.
    Social scum.

  • For months before DDay #1 I got the dead eye stare. Dead eye stare, irrational anger, refusal to communicate and all of it seemingly out of the blue. I knew something wasn’t right but every time I asked what was wrong, all I got was more dead eye stare. No matter what I said or did, it was the wrong thing. That had gone on for awhile when I had to have surgery. I vividly remember looking up at him as they were getting ready to wheel me into pre-op and seeing that look and thinking “he doesn’t care if I live or die” and being absolutely terrified. Even after that, it still took months for me to start listening to my instincts that were telling me that something was terribly, terribly wrong and years before I started to understand that I was not the problem.

  • I see quite a few of us have acquaintance with “the smirk of truth”– that little reveal when they are caught in a lie or realize there’s no point in lying anymore. It was the smirk, more than anything, that drove me out the door for good on Dday 2, that told me all my suspicions were true and the nail had met the head of the hammer. He tried to pull his mouth back down to look sad, and muttered primly, “Nothing’s HAPPENED,” also in a way that told me there was no point in going on–it had, or it would, and he wanted it to.

    “When the breakdown came at midnight there was nothing left to say…” (Springsteen).

    Newbies and wreckoncilers– watch for the Smirk of Truth

    • Ah, the smirk. Mine would smirk at me across the dinner table when we were on dates. It was so confusing and disconcerting that I couldn’t even look at him. Eventually I had to stop going on dinner dates. I later found out there were times he had texted his ho while I was in the restaurant washroom, saying he wished he was with her instead. The smirk is a sure sign of duper’s delight.

    • I invited my stbx to a play during pseudo reconciliation. He met me there. Neither of us liked it so we walked out after 30 minutes. He was not interested in doing something else or even walking to the park. So we were separating to go our separate ways. I said hey. Just a minute. Are you dating someone? He smirked and harrumphed and said “why do YOU want to know!?!?!?” Because I’m your wife. He said you ask me that every time I see you. Well are you involved with someone else? Committed to someone else? Harrumph and smirk. Then he said no. WHICH IS A LIE. So the smirk and harrumph was because I surprised him and he was caught in a. lie.

  • Idk – but if you want to unnerve a narcissist, look him square in the eyes.

    • You got that right, She! They want to elicit a response – which is generally a screaming, raving one – so that they can say to themselves, “See? See how she is?” to continue to validate or rationalize their shitty behavior. Couldn’t be THEM – it MUST be YOU! Now – I just don’t say anything. I don’t react at all. At first, he thinks I didn’t hear him. But when I go (coolly) – no, I heard you – he’s incensed! Then I’m a bitch, I’m cold-hearted, I’m disrespectful – the whole gamut. And that might be true – NOW. Thanks for making me be that!

  • This whole conversation send chills up my spine. I remember my ex sitting at the kitchen table staring blankly into space after I found condoms in his bedside table. I screamed at him like a raging banshee and begged for him to talk to me.

    It’s a level of cruelty that is impossible to image inflicting on someone. The worst part was that a I didn’t see it for 10 years and it was a terribly overwhelming shock at finding out how truly evil he was.

    His adolescent son would do the extract same thing. It’s an effective technique to frustrate and divert attention away from bad behavior.

    Sick fucking people…

  • I can’t speak for the dead-eyed woman but men are slow-witted creatures. They don’t think as fast as we do. I teach high school so I deal with adolescent behavior and lies all day long (from all genders). There’s
    a few rules of thumb. If you say something or ask a question (knowing the answer already!) and they act like they didn’t hear you or say “what?” so you’ll repeat it? Whatever comes after that is a lie. When there’s that hesitation (even if it’s fleeting) or the “dead stare” it’s bc they’re CAUGHT and they’re mulling over the response they think you want to hear. You surprised them because – as you know – no one is smarter than they are. So, you found out some small nugget that they didn’t expect you to be smart enough to figure out. If that look had a sound it’s “D’OH!”

  • I’ve read that narcs have the ‘thousand yard stare.’

    That, and he seldom made eye contact with anyone who was ‘inferior’ to him, or anyone he was jealous of.

  • Yes, saw the dead eyed stare after confronting him about suspected OW. Wide-eyed, his blues eyes were dark, staring straight ahead, but not at me, and said one word, “No”. It was like his brain got a Error404 and he stalled out. No more words. It just didn’t compute that I was on to his game. I knew he was lying because absolutely everything was wrong with that picture…

    ^this. Watch out for the “Smirk of Truth”. That’s definitely a thing as well.

  • My narc mother had the same smirk and stare as the Asshole ex. I never saw his until the very end. He got caught with OW #1 and I ended it. I told him he could stay in the house a few weeks to find a place to live and pack. During that time, he walked around looking sad and pathetic, always close to crying. When I found out about OW #2 and played him the evidence that I knew, it was like flicking a switch. All the sadness went away and there was that smirk. Then the dead-eyed stare.

    I believe it’s the mask slipping off and showing the vast emptiness inside of them. They don’t feel anything. The only need they have is the need to attempt to satisfy themselves, but nothing ever does. They just keep trying to fill up that empty hole inside of them. They’ve learned how to act human, but once someone sees behind the mask, they no longer need to put up the act.

  • I would get the dead eyed stare every time he is confronted with truth he doesn’t have an excuse for. It was his tell.

    To this day he refuses to even admit that he cheated despite the proof I have. When he is confronted by either me, his family, or a friend about this delusion he gets the stare going because he has run out of excuses.

    • ^ @
      ChumpedPunk, my STBXDick has never admitted to cheating either. His ‘overlap’ was so obvious. He’s been living with her for a few years now. How exactly does that make any sense? Because it doesn’t… untangling unnecessary.

  • I know this stare! Initially, in a true chump fashion, I thought it was due to the depression, and gave him excuses for his inability to connect to his emotions, but over time (say, a few weeks of reading CL) I realized it wasn’t – it was just the shut-down face. The “I don’t give a shit about your pain” expression. The “what makes you think your emotions should register with me” stare. Now I kind of give him one when he starts in on the sad sausage routine.

  • He did this all the time! One time, when confronted about seeing hookers, he smirked and responded with “prove it”. Most times, I only got a dead stare when I confronted him about something. Right before I finally left, he started staring at me at random times of the day like while eating dinner. So creepy!

    • My ex would stare at another woman until he caught eyes with them.
      Look at me, look at me
      Such a freak

  • I just remembered something from early last year. My stepson was temporarily home from the mental hospital (first manic bipolar episode) and we (the Dickhead, stepson and me) were sitting at the kitchen table. Stepson wasn’t yet on the right meds and still fairly manic and delusional. He was talking, I was looking at him and Dickhead was looking down at the table. He hardly ever looked anyone in the eye when talking, usually only me. All of the sudden, stepson says “why won’t you look at me?’ to his father. I will never forget that.

    His father, my husband had absolutely no clue how do deal with emotional issues because he had no emotions himself.

  • What do you all think happens to someone who seems to be normal at the beginning of your relationship, then they turn into the black eyed monster? I can’t figure out where the derailment happened. And why.

    • It’s best to not spend too much energy and time trying to figure it or them out. If you understand that most are disordered, the why becomes somewhat apparent. I spent 18 years with someone that I never suspected would treat me with disdain and callousness. But that’s exactly what he did. When they no longer have to live a lie, all masks and false personas fall away. What you see then is the real person – the one they were all along.

    • My ex went from Prince Charming to someone I didn’t even like over the span of 9 years. Prince Charming was a mask he put on to hook me. He needed a beard and a financial backer for his secret life. I was a great appliance for him, until I wasn’t.

      The “normal” person you saw in the beginning is the mask they wear. That’s not who they really are. The clusterfuck who shows up later is the real person. It’s work for them to continue to keep the mask on, so it eventually starts slipping and you start catching glimpses of who they really are. At that point, they give up the mask and ratchet up the abuse because any supply is good supply. With mine, I think he liked the negative attention the best as it created the drama he craved.

      Assholes. All of them.

    • It doesn’t matter where the derailment happened, or why. That would be untangling the skein of fuckedupness. Don’t waste your time. You know the derailment has happened — that’s what you have to deal with. The rest is just extraneous.

    • Same here Shelly, 20 years with someone, that if you asked anyone that knew him would say he was the greatest guy in the universe! No one had a bad word to say, everyone thought I was the problem. He was a model husband until he hit his 40’s and then he was unhappy. He told himself our marriage was over (news to me) and he deserved to be happy. At the end of the day that is all its about. Their selfishness, their happiness, what they feel they deserve. No one matters at this point. Once they get caught up in the affair, everything in their life can explode, but they have their tru wuv and they see their life being magnificent without you. You and the life you had is a hindrance to their happiness.

      It is probably the biggest mindfuck in the world, to have a person that you thought you knew and understood for 20+ years turn into some creature from another planet. I literally no longer knew who he was. Everything that he said and did was not anything like he had used to be. The lies, the manipulation, the arrogance. I can honestly say he completely changed over a course of a few months with his affair. Stupid me couldn’t figure it out. New job, maybe? Stress, sure. Nope, ho-worker extraordinaire. It literally changed everything about who he was and what he was.

      A part of you wonders why and you actually spend time trying to figure it out. It is totally not worth it. They are not worth it. Save yourself the pain and suffering and run, not walk, away.

  • Mine happened when he decided to become a state trooper. The cop badge gave him his “Bad Ass” stare. Trouble for him was that I didn’t scare easily. After 32 years together when he started that crap I would ask him “so is your intimidating cop stare to scare me? if so it’s not working”. Then the I’m sorry would come after. Guess he used that stare for his “turds”. I found out through a mutual friend that he had a detached cornea. Guess he blew it out with his death stare. All I know is that stare is real and no longer directed at me.

  • This post has been most enlightening. Because, no matter how much you know they’re a fuckwit, it’s hard to comprehend that a human can be so empty. And as much as I hate to admit it, I sometimes blast myself for going so crazy in response to his black eyed crazy. After reading this, I’m cutting myself some much needed slack. Anyone with any bit of human empathy, loyalty, trust has a bit of a meltdown when dealing with this type of creature. I did act crazy at times, but come on!!! It was like somebody had me in a straight jacket locked in an asylum. Every day I feel more freedom from that nut job. Even now, as I type this, I see him nagging our realtor on texts about why someone won’t buy our house that he let get so rundown as he lives there alone, but has to go away every weekend to be with his schmoopie instead of doing suggested repairs. He is delusional, but can pretend normal like nobody’s business. You have to always be on your toes around him. It’s exhausting. I wish he’d find a job in Siberia.

  • Yup me too( and my name is Anita too!! all blameshifting and projection even from my latest boyfriend who was caught sexting another woman while cuddling with me on my sofa. He is all about using me as a free airbnb every weekend. Done and done.

  • Lyrics from songs always speak to me, and Jackson Brown seemed to capture many of my feelings in Fountain of Sorrow.

    What I was seeing wasn’t what was happening at all
    Although for a while our path did seem to climb
    When you see through love’s illusions, there lies the danger
    And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool

    Realizing you have been conned, and have been having a “relationship” with a mirage is one of the hardest concepts I have ever wrapped my mind around. It was awful, and when you look into those empty eyes after this revelation, it unsettles many of your core beliefs. There is no bottom to the depravity that exists behind those eyes. They did what they did because they wanted to, and because they thought you were so infatuated and stupid that you would never figure it out. They are not sorry, they fully intend to continue their behavior with the next mark that comes along. Many of the things they do are immoral, but are not illegal. We are most vulnerable if we are married, because the law does not really protect us, but does prohibit us from testifying against our spouse. If there are children, they are always used as pawns, because most humans will protect those children even if it costs them personally.
    What these disordered people do is beyond the pale for most of the rest of the world. No matter how heinous their crime, someone out there will always choose to believe in their innocence. The dead eyed stare is only seen when we are no longer useful to them. Maybe a few of us get lucky and see the mask slip before they have used us up entirely, but once you see that emptiness, you will never forget it.

    My only advice is to be grateful you survived, and to get as far away from the con as quickly and completely as you can. You can rebuild your life, because you have worth and a value system. They will always be a dead eyed con artist.

    • Jackson Browne assaulted Darryl Hannah, for what it’s worth.

    • The other JB breakup song that really resonates with me–

      How long have I been dreaming?
      How long have I been drifting alone through the night?
      How long have I been thinking I could make it right
      If I just closed my eyes and tried with all my might…

      SO glad to be fucking done with that!

      And it’s true, yes, he assaulted Darryl Hannah, and his first wife committed suicide. Dude’s a little fucked up, but he did write some great songs.

      • I try to separate the song from the one who performed or wrote the song. It is a personal experience when words resonate or art touches you in some spiritual way. I like to believe the art transcends the artist, but then again I am an idealistic chump . . . I do know that some people have a gift when it comes to expression. Whether they are sincere or are using the expression to manipulate another soul is on them. When music, or art, or literature, or a play/movie touches me in some way it makes me feel in tune with the creative forces which drive me. It helps me to integrate the beauty of the moment into the reality of my life. If the creator falls short of the beauty he or she has created, I feel that creator is the one who is damaged..

  • I got the shark eyes and laughed at in my face .

    I was screaming crying begging him please leave your job please stop seeing her .

    His eyes were black as night and he just started laughing – No way am i going to stop seeing her i love her then he sat there for 2-3 minutes just laughing at me and smirking at everything i said he is viciously cruel .

    I actually bought Sociopath free Book by Jackson MacKenzie, it was recommended years ago by a poster in the Archives ( Sorry i can’t remember your name but Thank You so much for the book recommendation) and i actually think now reading that my STBX is indeed a Sociopath . He relates to a good 85-90% of that book .

  • i know that stare. it was to me the blank look of indifference. he had absolutely no interest in me and just wanted out. the good news is i now feel exactly the same, i have no feelings left for him except disgust. when i look at him, i feel nothing. hugs

  • This exactly. At one point I told my ex that I felt like he had absolutely no remorse over anything he done. He told me that ” remorse and humility are not part of the personality I’m trying to cultivate.” There is just so much wrong here. You’re a 42-year-old man trying to cultivate a personality? And in that personality you’re trying to cultivate, you’re intentionally leaving out remorse and humility?

    It’s something beyond narcissism.

  • Please don’t pile on, but I was able to execute this stare once successfully – for survival. I was walking on a hiking rail trail and slipped and twisted my ankle. I just sat on the ground for a few mins, wondering how bad things were and just letting it settle. I saw this guy ahead on the trail go still, alert like frozen for a sec. Then he ducked into the woods. He was gone for a few mins, while others passed by. I didn’t ask for help, because pretty near the trail head. Then this guy popped back out, much closer to me. He was walking closer and closer with a camera up to his face, pretending to be taking pictures. I noticed he had a little girl’s back pack. At that point I got the feeling he was a super creepy guy and that I had to move. I
    had a strong feeling that while he was in the woods, he had found and prepped a little nest he could do something with me in. And now he was three feet off pointing his camera at the trees with the creepy pink backpack and who knows what in there. So pulled up off the ground and limped as fast as I could to a high place at the trail head where people could see me. He wasn’t ready for me to move that fast. I sat on the hillock and looked at him while he paced like a tiger in front of me just a few feet away now on the trail. I had my hiking sticks (which are titanium and carbon tipped) pointing at him. But what I really had was traffic and witness potential, this accomplished in a precipitant move of maybe 15 feet. But apropo of this topic, the way I looked at him? That was the dead-eyed stare. Seriously. I didn’t want to engage or enrage him. It was “I see you. You don’t scare me. You don’t anger me. You don’t excite me. I am ready to do anything here and I am not your victim. But you are nothing to me.” He walked away .. because there was nothing to engage. BTW I am not a narc or a sociopath. I work from my heart with people and friends all day long. But this guy? He was not anybody to love on, even from heaven; was what I thought. Just say’n. That stare is available to you, you don’t always have to be on the receiving end. It can be an extension of “meh.”

    • Sometimes we have to do whatever it takes as a matter of self-preservation. Congrats on protecting yourself from Hiking Weirdo.

    • Good for you! You did exactly right.

      I have cultivated a psychpathic evil look for such situations. You just stare at nothing until your eyes go out of focus and you put on a creepy smile. The effect is scary. It’s even better if you have something which can be used as a weapon. I like slapping a blunt object in the palm of my hand or licking the flat edge of a knife (I always carry a hunting knife when hiking alone). All but the most determined and least risk adverse of predators will run away fast if you seem at least as crazy and violent as they are. That makes it an even fight and they like the odds to be in their favour. You don’t have to be a psycho to put on a psycho performance.

      • Nice options and you are right they want somebody who will play an assigned role. So far,I’ve managed to fail the audition ..with strangers. A man I thought was closer… that got me the Chump qualification. In the best of company tho, truely.

  • I am simultaneously relieved that so many of you have experienced the same thing, and sad that others had to go through that….and worse. I think that it is sociopathic trait-the dead eye stare. It’s indifference, which is a sociopathic trait. But how they become that way, that’s the question. We wouldn’t have married and made sacrifices for someone who was indifferent to us. From my own experience, I can see the signs I ignored and it all lies in that fine line between normal selfishness and sociopathy. He often expressed indifference toward others. He moved the family several times and dropped friends from the previous life-friends I stayed in touch with. I thought he was simply introverted but that I had somehow managed to win his love because of our special bond. There was my bit of self-obsession and I can only blame myself for that. He was clearly capable of not caring about people he should care about.

    Most people are little selfish and self-absorbed. I mean we are in charge of our own lives. And most of us are indifferent to some things. There are those who walk around constantly worried about everyone, the selfless ones. And there are those who walk around completely indifferent to everyone-usually those people are alone-the sociopaths. But these guys that turn from loving husband/wife to dead-eyed asshole, who make us feel like we are so insignificant that even our most beloved partner can’t value us? I think they switch. I think a lot of them weren’t the obvious sociopaths, preying on innocents. They began to allow that part of themselves to takeover because it was easy and they were getting away with it. And chumps are pretty easy to handle until they find out they are chumps. Then we tend to become angry, which is definitely not fun for the someone who cannot wake up from their own self-obsession to see another person. The only way to handle the anger of someone they know they are supposed to care about is to turn off completely. If you don’t love them, you are no longer obligated to care about them. I think actually seeing damage and accepting that they caused it is too much for them.

    My sweetie turned sociopath dropped the line “I kind of thought we would go our separate ways after the kids graduated high school” in a hotel room on the last day of a vacation that had ended with a visit to one of our oldest friends that we hadn’t seen in a decade. She had recently divorced her husband (we were at their wedding in 1997) because he was screwing the neighbor whose husband was dying of brain cancer. The normal response is outrage. He nonchalantly brought up how “off-putting” her outrage had been and then posited “why is it called cheating anyway?” Suddenly, what had always seemed like charming irreverence for some of society’s rules and what I had misinterpreted as his dedication to our family to the exclusion of family friends was a giant, billowing red flag. He was sitting on a chair, dead-eyed, as he delivered the line. We had been talking about plans for the next year, just hours before, and now he acted as if we had both had a secret understanding that we weren’t actually going to have a future together. And then the look came back every time I got upset. There were those months of, not-so-much a pick me dance but an attempt at closure dance, when he had justified his actions as acceptable because he didn’t go by “other peoples’ rules”. He said that getting married was “just something to do but now it was time to do something else.” All sorts of lines like that delivered with a dead-eyed smirk. I felt like he was enjoying watching me cry and get angry, but now I don’t think that was it. I don’t think fighting with me is fun for him. I don’t think he enjoys causing me or others pain. I think he JUST DOESN’T CARE. His desire is to not be bothered. The dead-eyes, the indifference, the detachment–that’s how they can live with themselves. It’s not like a psychopath enjoying a game of cat and mouse. It’s like a little kid who wants mommy to leave him alone and stop trying to make him behave.

    Before D-Day, when I thought our fights (that weren’t really fights but uncomfortable conversations), were just what all couples go through. I recall how I would be trying to talk about something and his eyes would roll back in his head like someone who was about to fall asleep. I chalked it up to jet-lag because of his constant traveling, and blamed myself for being so annoying. But since D-Day, that’s all I get from him and the callousness is

  • Hi madkatie,

    Yes, my STBX doesn’t really want to call it cheating and states that he is living an alternative lifestyle that is not stifled by a cookie cutter marriage (he said this to my teenage boys not me – what an asshole). He implies that I didn’t love him and even told my one son that he couldn’t live the life he wanted to with me (he wanted different strange sex, more alcohol, drugs etc). Of course nothing was mentioned to me – he continued faking future plans trying to make it until both kids graduated. He truly will not acknowledge or ever understand the pain he inflicted on his family for no reason. If he wanted a different life he could have spoken up and lived that life. The only time he got mad is when I told him he really hurt his kids. He doesn’t give a shit about me but he refuses to see the damage he has done to his own kids. I now have one depressed and one super angry teenage boy. His kids have reacted in different way but both have been damaged by his selfish and horrible behaviour. It is sad because he used to be a good Dad when the kids were little.

  • Ah yes, the dead eyed stare. I too shuddered under its beam:

    It presented on several occasions:

    When I begged my then-wife to stop hurting me by having an affair in my face.

    When I desperately explained that she was destroying our family.

    When in one of my final, ill-conceived attempts to converse logically with her, I asked her a simple question (since she was blaming me for everything): “What are YOU responsible for?”

    Blank. Or at worst, utterly contemptuous of my and our children’s suffering.

    The Stare, in my opinion, is based in someone denying her—telling her “No,” she could not do or have anything she wanted without consequence. And it didn’t matter that the someone was her husband or even her children (they got the stare too on more than one occasion): she would not be denied. A pathological sense of entitlement indistinguishable from a child’s. A disorder of the personality.

    It still gives me an inward shudder if I think back on it seven years later.

  • I think they do this when they’ve realized that the act isn’t working. Whatever presentation or role they’re playing isn’t cutting it, so this is the “resting phase.” I think they are so inauthentic, always presenting the proper emotion like an actor, that when they don’t have something to show, they go to a “blank screen.” It reminds me of a TV on the air channels when there’s no signal, or no station, displaying the static or the color bars.

  • In prisons they call it the thousand yard stare. It is a sign of sociopathy in those cases and likely with some cheaters. In others, it’s the blank look of an idiot who doesn’t understand what you’re talkling about and their small, square brain is trying to formulate a lie that will get them out of the conversation.
    In still others, they are trying to control themselves from giving you the other, more revealing stare, which is the venomous snake eyes that indicate rage and hate, so they go with dead eyes instead.

  • Maybe the dead-eyed stare is the result of the three filter emotions of rage, charm and self-pity all overlapping at once into one opaque eye. And the mouth smirk goes along with it as the mouth can’t decide between being angry, gloating or sad. Makes these cheaters sound like Mister/Mrs. Potato Heads!

  • I think that my ex used to mimic my behavior in social situations. I am a kind, empathetic person with a good sense of humor, and I loved him, so I made a good mark.

    But as soon as I realized who he really was, when I became consumed by my own grief, confusion, and anger, he no longer had his reliable source of real human information.

    So the cold, alien stare. It was like he had short-circuited.

  • When I confronted my exh (I had the proof on his phone in my hands, I believe I still wouldn’t know if I hadn’t seen the messages with my own eyes) he just sat there and said “I fucked her” with the emphasis on “fucked”. There was no emotion in his eyes whatsoever, he looked and sounded like he was saying “and? So what?” He didn’t care at all that he was admitting the most awful thing he’d ever done to me and our kids.

  • Do a search on “narcissist compartmentalising”. That shit is creepy. That stare is just their looking inward to work out which compartment holds the key to locking up the compartment we have just opened in a confrontation of truth. It’s the love bomb compartment they are trying to find, but they have to work out which love bomb box works on us, they have a whole lot of them for all their supplies, when we reveal one they feel panicked so this stare buys them time.

    I once recorded my ex going through my drawers and taking things after he had moved out. I confronted him, asked him not to just like our occupation agreement said, he stared blankly and denied he would or had. I told him I had it on film, he stared some more, got in his car and drove off. So chilling.

    Another time I confronted him about the underwear sets I got back from one of his OW. Again, dead stare, then he said “you threw it out in the bin so you didn’t want it”.

    Cold. Dead. Stare. I said I’m not sure what’s worse, stealing my underwear from my drawers and giving it to your girlfriends pretending it was new (which is what happened) or stealing it from the trash outside to give it to them (which isn’t what’s happened) but thinking the latter is better than what actually happened is something else. Cold. Dead. Stare. Just chilling. Who does that? My underwear!

  • Funny story; yesterday the cable guy came to the house to install a new cable. He was poking around and trying to figure out where the cables ran to inside the basement office. He poked one of the ceiling tiles from the drop ceiling, and OUT FELL A TUPPERWARE OF WEED! The financial planner that lied for years about no longer smoking weed, was hiding it from me in the ceiling of the basement office. He’s been gone a year…

    That, my friends, is why I didn’t see the dark, shark eyes…. he was too high to have any reaction at all apparently. (and good eye drops I guess).

  • Lying and concealing are skills they think they perfected. When they get caught they continue to try and lie about the lie, blame shift and whatever, until they reach a point where even they know they can’t lie and conceal anymore. They’ve reached the end of their skill-set. They stare because they have nothing left to say – literally, the light is on and nobody is home. Oddly, the next day they try again hoping you’ve forgotten, or moved on, because nothing says “conversation over” to these people more than silence; and that is their hopium.

  • The deer in the headlights DO NOT BLINK DO NOT LOOK AWAY STARE STRAIGHT AHEAD then come back to consciousness minutes later changing the subject. I know exactly what this…. is lies and denial lies and denial… The funny part…mine was trained in behavior analysis for a “security” job and when I called him on it ..whew lordy let me tell you. Let alone me asking who was stupid .. Was he really that stupid to think I didn’t know or did he think I was that stupid that I would buy it.

  • Has anyone else seen the Stare coming out of themself? Not literally, you would have to be looking in a mirror, but you know what I mean.

    The whore monger episodes helped me get on touch with a side of myself I didn’t even know existed. Looking back, I think it must have felt what it is like to be possessed by a Demon.

    I was trying to follow the RIC and keep my family together, which was enabling this guy to treat me like total living shit. I was so angry and hated him so much, it really started scaring me. I didn’t even know I had that in me, but I do,/did.

  • Haha this made me laugh (although of course it’s hella creepy too): “We shall return you shortly to your normal programming” and then the elevator music.

  • The dead eyed shark stare.

    I think it is because:

    they have no connection to you
    they know they are lying to you
    they feel absolutely nothing for you
    they resent you even being in front of them.
    they probably hate you.

    Regarding the lying:

    I said to my STBX ‘your capacity to lie is absolutely terrifying’. He did not even bother to lift his eyes from his tablet and replied ‘I know’.

    • Everything thing you wrote is spot on IMO.

      Sociopaths don’t like getting caught. And once caught that dead eye stare reveals just how truly dark their souls are.

  • ^^ Everything ^^

    Lights were on, nobody was home! I called him an empty box when he crawled into that “stare”. eww
    Freedom is Grand ………

  • my second ex-bpd-narc slipped mask one year into the marriage. he figured now he had nothing to lose coz I was locked in financially having built our home and business. he said : ‘i’ll torture you so much youll know whose the lion around here.

    From there it went fast. He became super controlling and paranoid. He pointed a knife on my neck. I slapped him hard. I was scared for my life.

    That’s when I saw the eyes, dark, reptilian stare. I knew I had satanic evil living with me. It would happen before he’d launch into the awful nasty word salad fights.

    I knew it was over so I began to play nice and gaslight him, funny he got confused and his behaviour drastically improved but still awful (he was going covert & love bombing, hoping to hoover me back in)

    When I told him his snake face creeped me out, he laughed, and did it more often.

    I arranged to travel far away to see my kids for a couple months. I never looked back. after 2 months I went no contact, it’s been 3 yrs. I also went NC with my narc-sociopath mother and minimum contact with the rest. the very best move of my life.

    This stuff is crazy.

  • Sociopaths and dead eyes stares = you figured me out and now I need to destroy you.

    They don’t say anything because they want you to feel bad and guilty for accusing them of something afoul. Internally, I think they give the dead eye stare because they are ruminating how much they hate us for figuring them out.

    I’m so glad I’m done with that…

  • I came to this site only after a dating situation with one of these types. His dead eyes were something I noticed even when I liked him. I remember feeling a bit down that the person I liked didn’t have “deep eyes.”

  • For 4 years in between daily love-bombing texts and right-as-rain in the bedroom it was a combination of pure disdain/contempt, tolerance and barely maintaining the micro-thin veneer of illusion after I’d been swapped out behind my back from Primary to Secondary Ego Fuel. And whenever I challenged him about aspects of the affair I could literally see him going ‘Time to put on my best lying face now’. I called him out on it after DD2 and he admitted it. But in front of any audience when he was with me he gave a much better performance of being emotionally present and connected. It’s nauseating to think back on how manipulated and deceived I allowed myself to be for so long

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: