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Archive for July, 2006

Confusion about sociopaths, psychopaths and antisocials

The Lovefraud website and blog describe people who have no heart, no conscience and no remorse. This personality disorder is shrouded in confusion. What exactly are these people? And what do you call them?

Lovefraud calls them “sociopaths.”

However, the description Lovefraud uses of their traits and behaviors is based upon the work of Dr. Robert Hare, author of Without Conscience. He calls them “psychopaths,” and has requested that the term be used in reference to his work.

The confusion about the terms—another is antisocial personality disorder—makes it difficult for people to learn about the condition. Consequently, there are millions of unaware potential victims walking the planet, ripe for targeting by these predators.

Terminology confusion

The condition was once called “insanity without delirium” and “moral insanity.” The term “psychopath” dates to the late 1800s. In 1930, G. E. Partridge introduced the term “sociopath.”

Lovefraud marks a year of service

Lovefraud.com reached a milestone last week—it’s been a year since the website was launched. An anniversary is always a good time for reflections and observations, so here are some of mine.

1. The destruction that sociopaths inflict on other lives is staggering

My ex-husband, James Montgomery, defrauded me of more than $227,000, had affairs with at least six women during our two-year marriage, fathered a child with one of them and then committed bigamy. I thought that was bad.

But in the past year, more than 130 people have called and sent e-mails telling their stories, and many are far worse. People have told me of rampant fraud, child abuse, physical beatings and possible murders. The callous viciousness with which sociopaths destroy their targets is unbelievable.

2. The lack of awareness about sociopaths is widespread and dangerous

Posted in: Donna Andersen

Bigamists, sociopaths, and the call for a marriage database

In the United States of America, it is impossible to find out if someone is married.

Donna Layne Roberts, whose ex-husband, William Barber, was married at least 12 times, has drafted an online petition to Congress asking for a national database of marriages and divorces. Sandra Phipps, the seventh wife of bigamist Ed Hicks, supports the marriage database petition, and was interviewed in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper last week about her views.

There are people, however, who think a marriage database is a dumb idea. One of them is Kerry Dougherty, a columnist for the Virginian-Pilot. In an article called A good match can come from real talking, she wrote, “There’s a simple way to avoid marrying a bigamist. Get to know your betrothed before sprinting to the altar.”

Divorce, custody and personality disorders

Lovefraud frequently receives e-mails and phone calls from people who are divorcing a sociopath and are afraid they’re going to get trashed in court. They know the sociopaths will lie—smoothly and convincingly—and are terrified that the manipulator will end up winning the money, the house, and custody of the kids.

If you’re facing family court battles with a sociopath, I recommend that you buy and read Splitting—Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist, by William A. Eddy. It may be the best $25 you ever spend.

Eddy, the author, is both a therapist (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and an attorney. He understands the law, the courts and how people with personality disorders can manipulate them. You need to understand all of this as well.

The book explains the court process; the roles of attorneys, evaluators and other professionals; how to gather evidence; and generally what to expect.

How do you help someone snared by a sociopath?

Lovefraud recently heard from a woman who was concerned for her daughter. Here is her e-mail:

Currently, our daughter is married to a sociopath. He has taken us (her parents) for thousands and thousands of dollars, then turned her against us. These people victimize people and are somehow able to make themselves look like the victim. They have 2 small children.

He has completely isolated her from her family, including her sister. He completely hates me and has made me the enemy, for I started seeing through him. Do you have any idea how I can possibly reach her to make her see the pattern? This man has felonies on his record for scheming to defraud; he has cheated people all his adult life. I have found out many other disturbing things about his past that she is not aware of. I want to inform her of these things, however many people feel she won’t believe it. Like your sociopath, this one said he was in the Gulf War; he never was. Instead he went AWOL from the service. He said he had a masters degree in accounting, but he has no college degree of any sort. He’s had over 20 jobs and moved over 30 times. He is 12 years older than our daughter, has a terrible temper. We worry about her and the babies all the time.