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Archive for November, 2006

Healing from an encounter with a psychopath. It’s all in my perceptions.

Recently I was hired to write a script for a video on Mammography. While working on the voice-overs, the actress hired to do the narration kept stumbling on one line. I knew it sounded awkward but was having trouble changing it. The Director and I looked at the sentence — The fact that the screening mammogram might have saved her life, is not a myth. It’s a fact.

“It’s the word, fact. It appears twice in the sentence and makes it awkward,” I said.

We struggled for some minutes to think of a word to replace it with, but couldn’t find one that fit.

“We can’t change the last two phrases,” I said. “They have to go together because that’s the power statement. It’s not a myth. It’s a fact. We’ve got to find another word for ‘fact’ at the beginning of the sentence.

Posted in: M.L. Gallagher

Victim alerts others about con artist Brian Ellington

Eve Hawkins of Queens, New York City, first contacted Lovefraud in absolute frustration. She said her ex-boyfriend was a con artist, she brought 200 pages of evidence to her local NYPD precinct, and the cops did nothing.

I asked Eve to tell me a little more about her story. To my surprise, she sent me an 8,000-word narration: How she met Brian Ellington. How he wormed his way into living with her. The stories and lies Ellington told. How she struggled to get rid of him. How she finally succeeded.

Eve’s story captured the confusion, mixed emotions, anger and frustration known by anyone who has been targeted by a sociopath. Her story was so passionate and so well-written that I decided to publish it as a case study. Read it here:

Brian Ellington combines sex and fraud

Eve builds a website

Children of sociopaths are twice cursed

Many have declared that the lack of a conscience is the defect that defines sociopathy. Therefore, understanding how the conscience forms will lead us to better understand this disorder. Researchers currently discuss two basic pathways to conscience formation. The first and most common path to conscience is through guilt. Conscience through guilt develops from fear of punishment. Children who are genetically at risk for sociopathy are often fearless and so have little or no guilt, as discussed last week.

The second path to conscience

The second path to conscience is through empathy. A fearless child can have a conscience if he develops empathy. Conscience through empathy is called the “second pathway” or “alternative pathway” by researchers because empathy provides a conscience to fearless, relatively guiltless, people. Most humans have a two part conscience and experience both guilt and empathy.

Just what is empathy?

Judge rules for con artist and against free speech

Lovefraud has just published the most recent mind-boggling chapter of the Phil Haberman saga. Haberman, you may recall, has a tendency to exaggerate his meager military service to women he meets on the Internet, plays the wounded soldier when he suffered no injuries, and defrauds people such as his ex-wife.

Haberman’s story was originally published on September 1, 2005 by the Dallas Observer. It was then picked up by at least five different websites and blogs, including Lovefraud. His ex-wife launched her own blog in July, 2006.

Haberman had tried to coerce and threaten the other websites into removing the information about him. No one did it. But when his ex-wife launched her blog, she became a target that Haberman could strike. He took her to family court, claiming domestic violence through cyberstalking.

Sociopaths don’t respond to punishment

In response to last week’s entry, Sociopathy and the fearless child one of our readers (Bobby) wrote of his brother, “He was often punished – usually by being sent to bed without his meal – but he would repeat the same behavior as if nothing had happened.” This statement illustrates why the usual parenting does not work with children at risk to develop into sociopaths. They do not respond to punishment!

Parents of sociopaths are often blamed

Tragically, the parents of sociopaths are often blamed for the presence of this condition in their offspring. The belief of many is, He wouldn’t be a sociopath if his parents had taught him right from wrong.

The belief that “discipline” will cure the problems of the at-risk child is illustrated by the fact that there are over a thousand books on disciplining children offered through Amazon.com.

Never is a long, long time after loving a psychopath

When I first got my life back after the Psychopath was arrested, I didn’t know who I was, where I was or even how I’d got to that place in which I was living with such deep, dank desperation and sadness. During that 4 year 9 month relationship I had done things and behaved in ways I did not think were possible for me.

But, there I was after his arrest, standing amidst the devastation of my life, forced to acknowledge the truth; I had become that crazed woman who had accepted his lies as her truth. I was that woman who, locked in his unholy arms, lost her moral compass and fell into the abyss of his web of deceit.

Posted in: M.L. Gallagher

Sociopaths get out of jail—or try to

“True Lovefraud Stories” on Lovefraud.com is a collection of case studies about people who lied their way into the lives of others, leaving a wake of destruction. Some committed fraud. Some committed bigamy. Some committed murder.

Five of the perpetrators in the True Lovefraud Stories received jail terms for their actions. Of the five, three are out of prison and two, claiming innocence, are appealing their convictions.

Ed Hicks

Ed Hicks was convicted of bigamy in Virginia on March 6, 2006. He was sentenced to a year in prison. With credit for the time already served, he was expected to remain incarcerated until the end of 2006. Due to his good behavior in prison, he was released on probation on October 18, 2006.

Sociopathy and the fearless child

Many have expressed doubt that a condition as complex as sociopathy can be genetic. The doubters aside, studies of identical twins separated at birth and raised by non-relatives do clearly show the condition is genetic. The question now is, “Just what is inherited?”

Genes interact with environment

Although sociopathy is genetic, it is not inherited in the same way as many other traits, for example, eye color. The genes that cause sociopathy do so by making a child vulnerable to certain environmental influences. A child can have the genes but if he is not exposed to the triggering environment, he will not develop the condition.

Fearlessness an important precursor to both sociopathy and addiction

UK man says sociopath stole his life

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following e-mail from a man in the UK—we’ll call him “Tom.” Tom says his wife left him to be with another man, “Peter,” who Tom believes is a sociopath. Tom says he hasn’t seen his children in two years, he has been arrested on false charges nine times, and his money is gone. He has asked for help to determine what to do. If you have suggestions, please post them as comments.

My story is out of the movies and I have suffered so much that I no longer know what to do. I have lost my children, my home, my stability, my career and my wealth at the hands of two sociopaths. I am in recovery now, totally broke, practically homeless and mentally and emotionally scared beyond words.

My child’s genetic connection to a sociopath

The first time I ever heard the word sociopath was in 1980 as a 19-year-old sophomore in Psychobiology at the University of Southern California. I attended a lecture given by Dr. Sarnoff Mednick, who presented the findings of his research.

I was amazed at his work, which clearly demonstrates that genetics is an important predictor of criminal behavior. I attended many lectures in college, medical school and beyond, however that presentation always stayed with me. I remember it as if I heard it only yesterday.

Psychologists say that our memories are affected by our present circumstances, so it is no wonder I have a strong connection to that lecture heard so long ago. For better and for worse, I am living with the implications of the reality of Dr. Mednick’s research.

My husband—likely a sociopath