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Archive for October, 2006

When you have a child with a sociopath

A few months ago, a Florida woman called me about the sociopath in her life. It was her teenaged son.

As she told me of his disrespectful behavior toward her, his acting out in school and his violence, she broke down. This woman could barely speak through her tears.

To me, the greatest pain of any involvement with a sociopath comes when children are involved, especially when the sociopath is the biological parent. Not only has someone been deceived by a sociopath, but the child of the relationship may also become a sociopath.

Lovefraud has had nothing to offer the parents of children at risk for sociopathic behavior. Until now.

Introducing Liane Leedom, M.D.

Dr. Liane Leedom is a psychiatrist, who made, as she calls it, “the mistake of her life.” She married a man who turned out to be a con artist. The man is the father of her son.

Sociopaths drag their families into the con

Sociopaths will manipulate anyone. Let me repeat that. Sociopaths will manipulate absolutely anyone, including mom, dad, brothers, sisters—anyone. One way that this happens is the sociopath gets his or her family—knowingly or not—to participate in the victimization of the target.

Lovefraud received an e-mail from Rod in Nebraska. Rod’s daughter had been targeted by a sociopath. In his e-mail, he wrote the following:

One thing that I do believe should be approached about a sociopath is his ability not only to control his victim, but also his family. The sociopath works his family to the extent that he manipulates his immediate family into believing that none of his problems in life are his fault and consequently the blame falls on the one he wooed into a relationship. In this manner he deliberately cons his family into enabling him in his behavior. Oh, poor guy, the world is against him, he has a seizure disorder and has the gout. Thus concluding my opinion that he controls his universe and his family’s.

When the trigger is pulled

Editor’s note: This post was written by M.L. Gallagher, who was romantically involved with, and almost destroyed by, a sociopath. She has written a book about her experience called, The Dandelion Spirit: A True Life Fairytale of Love, Lies and Letting Go. Lovefraud recommends the book for anyone who is trying to understand how sociopaths manipulate their victims. M.L. Gallagher will be posting regularly to Lovefraud.

Jack and I have been friends since high school. Last fall when his marriage of twenty-two years dissolved, he arrived on my doorstep, emotionally drained, bruised and fragile. As he tried to make sense of what had happened to his life, our friendship deepened.

Sociopaths and the journey into the self

When I came to the realization that I had been manipulated and defrauded by a sociopath, I felt anger and embarrassment about having been a fool. This is exactly what most people victimized by sociopaths feel.

I now know that I was targeted, and that there is no excuse for my ex-husband’s predatory behavior. Still, what was it in me that made me vulnerable to his lies and manipulation?

Sometimes there are answers waiting to be discovered. The experience of being victimized by a sociopath, as painful as it is, can lead to a personal journey of understanding, and eventually healing.

The Dandelion Spirit

M. L. Gallagher wrote a book, called The Dandelion Spirit, about her fall into the abyss with a sociopath. In poetic language, it tells the story of her deception, her near-loss of her own identity, and the beginning of her recovery. When people contact Lovefraud about a loved one who is being victimized, I often recommend the book to help them understand what is going on.

Posted in: Cases, M.L. Gallagher

Fear and loathing when the sociopath returns

In August Lovefraud posted a story called One woman’s experience of romantic manipulation. The information was submitted by “Survivor,” who had been targeted by someone whom she believes is a sociopath, and lists her observations of behaviors that, in hindsight, indicated how she was being manipulated.

Survivor wrote to Lovefraud recently—the guy was back. Survivor had finally taken a step to be social again, joining a singles group. The guy found out and joined as well. I told her that No Contact is the best policy, and she might want to drop out of the group.

To confront—or not

What happened next illustrates three things:
1. The amount of psychological damage that sociopaths inflict
2. The difficulty victims have in recovering from the damage
3. The cluelessness of people who have not experienced the devastation of a sociopath

Here is Survivor’s letter:

Sexually violent predators

One of Lovefraud’s prime messages is that most sociopaths (or psychopaths) do not live up to their media hype. Most sociopaths are not sadistic, sexually violent serial killers.

However, the hype is founded on truth, and there are some sociopaths who fit the descriptions you see in TV crime shows. These predators are the ones people think of when they hear the term “psychopath,” and they are truly scary. (I’ll call them psychopaths for the rest of this post.)

Sex crimes and sexual offenders get a lot of attention in the United States these days. This is certainly justified—there is no excuse for sexual violence. Some sex offenders are psychopaths, but not all of them. Child molesters, for example, frequently have other mental problems.

Psychopathic sex offenders